For small and medium sized enterprises, especially in the current dynamic and competitive landscape of business, growth is more than just a desire–it’s essential for survival.

Start-ups, established businesses and struggling SMEs all need to invest in ongoing growth strategies to help fuel correspondingly ongoing success, expand market reach, enhance competitiveness and–ultimately–increase revenue.

Of course, sustainable growth means deliberate strategies designed and employed to suit your specific business model, industry and target market.

Does Growth Matter?

A narrow definition of business growth is just focused on revenues or company size. But growth can mean a whole lot more in the 21st century.

In a competitive market, stagnation means decline. Businesses who are not progressing, evolving and proving their resilience are going to find themselves falling behind. Growth is about capitalising on opportunities to attract talent, improve brand reputation, invest in innovation and adapt to changing economic conditions. 

The stronger your growth strategies, the more sustained your growth will be, even during times of market downturns and disruption.

Measuring Growth

How do we measure growth?

There are some standard key performance indicators that provide metrics for assessing the health and performance of your business. These include revenue, customer acquisition and retention rates, profit margins, market share, productivity and size of one’s employee base. If these metrics are increasing over time it can quantitatively indicate that your business is growing.

But there are qualitative measures too. These are harder to measure and can include factors such as customer satisfaction, brand reputation and employee satisfaction. Keeping these metrics in mind and brainstorming ways of monitoring their growth can offer a more holistic view of your business’s growth.

Top 9 Growth Strategies for SMEs

1. Create market penetration strategies

Expanding your market share within an existing market requires an investment of time, money and effort.  

Aggressive advertising campaigns and pricing strategies can draw in new customers, while product and service enhancements will help with retention and customer satisfaction. 

There are numerous digital channels for facilitating not just marketing but targeted sales and ensuring personalised engagement can further your position in a respective market. 

2. Diversify your unique service offering

The more diversified and specialised your product and service offering is, the more untapped market potential you’ll be able to access.

But diversifying offerings does require significant operational and financial investment as well.

Make sure you conduct thorough market research to identify existing gaps in the market or trends among your target audience. Innovate accordingly and cement your point of difference with competitors.

3. Explore strategic partnerships

It can be tempting to believe, especially in competitive markets, that your business has to go it alone.

But collaboration with complementary businesses and industry influencers can help expose you to new markets, explore new distribution channels and discover new technologies. 

Sharing resources, expertise and networks should be mutually beneficial and allow both parties in the partnership to accelerate growth whilst minimising risks.

4. Expand into new markets

Tip number three explored expanding your product or service offering–but sometimes diversification can be done by offering a similar product or service but across totally different markets. 

If you’re looking for growth, consider geographical or cross-industry expansion.

When based on sufficient and accurate market analysis, you can identify high growth opportunities or even discover ways to make the most of an industry niche with your pre-existing business capabilities. 

5. Customer retention programs

It’s far more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing ones. Customer retention programs, such as loyalty programs, nurture existing customer relationships.

Strong customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you personalise communications, conduct remarketing campaigns and offer exceptional customer service.

Satisfied customers are not just repeat customers, they’re also potential brand advocates and can drive organic growth through word-of-mouth referrals.

6. Improve operational efficiency 

Sometimes growth isn’t about expanding at all, but rather contracting. Inefficient operations in a business can mean a loss of valuable capital and opportunity.

Streamline your internal processes, optimise workflows and invest in automation technologies. 

The greater your productivity improves and the greater your overhead cost savings, the more resources you’ll have freed up to redirect towards innovation and other initiatives. 

7. Invest in the right talent

A motivated, skilled and experienced workforce is an invaluable asset for a growing business.

It’s not just about recruitment and training. Internal employee development and engagement programs ensure ongoing skills improvement, higher employee satisfaction and sustained long-term productivity.  

8. Embrace the digital transformation

Digital technologies are evolving thick and fast. While it can be overwhelming, having a positive outlook on new technologies can unlock the enhanced agility, scalability and customer engagement capabilities of your business.

There’s a wide range of technologies out there from cloud-based solutions to data analytics and from e-commerce platforms to mobile applications, so take the time and make the effort to find the right asset for your business.

9. Utilise financial solutions for businesses

Both Invoice Finance, where you leverage the locked-up value of unpaid invoices owed to you, and Trade Finance, which opens up international or cross-market trade opportunities, can help small and medium sized businesses fulfill their growth potential.

With customised solutions courtesy of an experienced lending team, such as our specialists here at ScotPac, businesses of all sizes can access the cash flow and vendors they need to fuel long term success.

ScotPac – Big enough to trust, small enough to care 

ScotPac is the largest non-banking lender throughout New Zealand and Australia, so we know what it takes to help SMEs grow.

Our specialists understand that sustainable growth requires a multifaceted approach, strategic planning, openness to innovation and business agility. That’s why we look at our clients as partners rather than transactions. 

We’re dedicated to helping businesses navigate the challenges of working capital accessibility to help invest in the growth strategies that are right for them.

To find out more about how we can help your business grow or arrange a one-on-one consultation, get in touch with our team today.