People feel that starting a business is a tough thing.
But that’s the easiest part.
Starting a business only requires a bit of courage.
The real challenge is to sustain the business. Keeping the lights on is the real battle.
A question that boggles almost every entrepreneur no matter at what stage of the journey they are at is-
How to grow the business further?
From being just a startup to a high growth startup to being a scaleup and then ultimately being a unicorn before you make it to the legacy enterprises list, the question remains intact. But the answer changes. The answer continuously changes with external factors like economic conditions, technical disruptions, new business opportunities, new marketing channels, and whatnot.
Read this insight to discover multiple growth levers that businesses are tapping into presently.
Accordingly, carefully plan and execute growth strategies for your business.
Get SMART to GROW your business
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
This is a common framework or concept taught in management institutions across the world.
And it’s quite useful.
In our blog on top mistakes entrepreneurs make, we briefly touched upon how by not being competent many entrepreneurs leave money on the table. SMART strategies help you avoid such mistakes.
For a fact, everyone makes strategies, but only a few execute it, and fewer execute it with the success they anticipated.
What goes wrong? Most of the time, people plan based on what’s best. They don’t plan what’s best for them.
That’s where things go haywire.
This is not just about business. Even in your regular life, from career choices to your better halves, don’t go after the best. Go after the best for you. Google “best career option for Science grads”, and if you’re in India then you’ll find all sorts of options. From becoming an IES to and IAS, and from landing jobs at MAANG to starting your own startup. Let’s say the blog was written by me. Because of my bias toward startups, I would always recommend startup as the best option for science grads. But would that be best for everyone? No. Maybe some would do better in life or be more happy being the next Einstein then being the next Jobs or Zuckerberg. You get my point. Right?
When you devise the strategy to grow your business, make sure that you know the ‘Specifics’.
So, it’s not about saying that “we shall do content marketing”. Instead it should be “we shall do content marketing as this helps reach out to our target audience from multiple channels, and we have got the talent muscle to execute this properly.” This is being specific. You can further detail out, but we will not get deep into that over here.
Once the specifics are defined, ensure that they are ‘Measurable’.
You must break the specifics into chunks such that the sub-parts are executable as individual units. Assign some KPIs to each of the subunits and to the project as a whole that would make both the project and the individual units as ‘Measurable’. What you can measure is what you can improve. And thus you will be able to get tangible or at least quantifiable results.
The third piece of strategizing plans for growing your business is to validate that the plans you’re devising, and the goals you’re setting are actually ‘Achievable’.
Don’t make hypothetical statements like it’s doable. Be strategic, analytical, and critical. Having a foresight helps, but having a validated foresight helps better. Let’s take the example of content marketing. If you’re publishing 2 blogs a month. Suddenly, you can’t plan for 30 blogs a month with the same resources in terms of talent and budget. So, plans should always be holistic in nature. Calculate what would be the budget required, the time needed to get the work done, how many new hires or partnerships would be required etcetera. Then if the finding tells you that the plan is executable, you can go ahead with it and mark it as ‘Achievable’.
The second last piece of how to grow your business being SMART is ‘Relevance’.
For a B2B business that sells fencing wires or security drones to border security forces, it makes little sense to get film & sports celebrities to sponsor their products. Defence department of any government won’t sign contracts because their favourite actor endorses it (unless the officials are corrupt). So, celebrity endorsements are not relevant for such orgs. Similarly, whatever you plan to answer how to grow your business, make sure that it is relevant. By the way, I was wondering if celebrities could influence how defense products are sold wouldn’t our independence and our sovereignty breathe its last soon? Scary. Right?
Anyway, that brings us to the last piece of the “grow your business SMARTly” puzzle, ‘Time-bound’.
Most of the orgs, the small ones, don’t measure the result of the actions, don’t evaluate their processes, and such habits are like the hole at the bottom of the bucket. No matter how much water you pour in the bucket, it will always remain empty. Here, the bucket could be your business profits. The water could be the revenue and resources you invest into your business. So, see if your processes are flawed. If yes, fix them. Make sure that inefficiencies and incompetent culture is not crippling your startup. For example, the goals you set for growing your business, have you made it ‘Time bound’? Have you assigned a fix timeline to it to get it done? Do you have planned checkpoints at various stages of the goal to see if the progress is aligned to the plan? If not, you’re doing it wrong. But if your goals are time-bound, you are all set to thrive.
That completes The SMART framework to plan the strategies for growing your business.
Next, we shall talk about what are some different ways to grow your business that’s proving beneficial for a lot of startups, SMEs, and enterprises.