From Fact-Finding to Organizational Alignment, Here’s How to Grow Your Company
Having a sustainable growth strategy is critical to any company’s success. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail within the first year, and 50% within the first five years. To stay ahead, the most successful companies use a growth strategy template to plan – evaluating growth opportunities and prioritizing resources based on what makes the most sense for their businesses.
While there is no “one size fit all” approach that will guarantee success, there are some core fundamentals that should be part of any growth strategy template that we will explore further in this article.
What is a Growth Strategy?
A growth strategy template outlines the company’s expansion objectives and how it plans to achieve them, taking into account short and long-term requirements. Below are some basic ways that a company can drive growth:
- Target new consumer segment and/or expand consumer base
- Enter a new geographic market
- Enter a new channel (e.g., eCommerce)
- Diversify product offerings
- Launch new products
Defining a company’s growth strategy is not an easy task and often takes a cross-functional team effort. However, there are four essentials steps that should be part of any growth strategy template or discussion.
Growth Strategy Template Step 1: List & Prioritize Strategic Growth Opportunities Based on Facts & Impact
There are numerous ways to drive business growth – but not everything will drive the same impact or make sense for every company given assets/investments required. While it is good to start with a broad list of what are all the possible ways to drive growth, it is equally important to quickly hone in on what will drive the most impact for your specific business.
This often requires leveraging market, industry, or company research to help quantify impact. While business judgement should be layered into decisions, having facts to support your decision will help in Step 2: Setting Realistic Milestones/Goals and in securing buy-in from different stakeholders within the organization that are either less informed and/or have different perspectives.
Growth Strategy Template Step 2: Set Realistic Milestones/Goals
Once you evaluate the growth alternatives and prioritize based on impact to the business, it is important to outline realistic expectations and milestones in your growth strategy template.
For example, if your company is launching a new product in an established category to drive growth, it is unlikely that your product will achieve 60% market share in year one, especially if there are entrenched players with large marketing budgets. Rather, your goals should reflect a gradual build, with milestones over a five-year period. Setting concise and realistic goals will drive clarity across the organization and set execution teams up for success.
Growth Strategy Template Step 3: Set Accountability & Actions
Part of your growth strategy template should include who is accountable for each growth objective. That team or person should be responsible for further detailing out action items, timing, milestone reporting and resources/tools needed to achieve objectives.
A key output from this step is the identification of any tool, service or capability that will accelerate the team’s ability to meet the growth objective and/or any other major consideration that should be accounted for in growth milestones.
Growth Strategy Template Step 4: Organizational Buy-In & Execution
A growth strategy template should be able to live beyond the team that created it. Therefore, the importance of securing organizational buy-in cannot be underestimated. It’s important to socialize with leadership to secure capabilities and resources, and with the teams accountable for delivering on the plan.
Securing input and buy-in early on from these team members is critical, as they will essentially be charged with executing against it. If they are unclear on the objectives, or if they simply don’t believe in the vision, then the plan is destined to fail in execution, no matter how robust or accurate it is.