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Opinion: Business growth strategies made simple

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If you’ve ever been on social media, particularly LinkedIn, you’ll find no shortage of people telling you how to grow your business. “Everyone does it this way, but you should really be doing it this way ...” is the general theme surrounding modern content creation.

I’ve helped hundreds of small businesses grow, and I’ve seen countless growth strategies, tactics and techniques.

When you get to the bottom of it all, there is a very simple, principle-based strategy for growing your business.

The most important part of growing your business is what many call the go-to-market strategy. It is the who, what, where, when and why of your business.

A business exists to give people something they want. The more they want what you have, the easier it is to grow.

Creating a go-to
Market strategy is the essential first step of identifying who your business is best positioned to help, in what way you can best give them what they want and how to best communicate with them that you have what they want.

The critical mistake many businesses make is to assume the market wants what they have without doing the legwork to verify their belief. They create a go-to-market strategy based on what they think the market wants, rather than getting out there and asking the market.

This is admittedly the hardest to do with products and services that don’t exist yet, as the market doesn’t know that they should want what you’re creating. In these cases, it’s best to focus on the outcome created by the new creation – the problem solved or the job to be done by the product or service. The market doesn’t want the solution, they want the experience of being without the problem or desire. They want “life on the other side,” if you will.

If you truly understand who you’re serving with your business, what they dislike about their current state of being and how they want that state to change, the rest of your growth strategy gets much easier and more fun.

The structure
The whole focus of growth strategy when you’ve gone to market is simple. You need to make the market aware that you understand them and can give them what they want.

How that’s done is the part that can speed up or slow down the process. I want to reiterate that the foundation is the most important part. It’s the fire, and the rest is the fuel. If you give a fire paper, it will quickly ignite and burn up. If you give a fire logs, it will slowly heat the wood, evaporate any moisture and eventually ignite to burn for a long time.

If you build a fire with paper on the bottom, small sticks on top of that, slightly larger sticks next and building toward larger logs on top, you can get the fire started quickly and let nature work for you. Heat rises and the fire will start quickly, ignite the smaller sticks first, the natural progression creating something that burns hotter and longer with more work upfront but less maintenance.

Business growth works the same way.

Try to grow with only paid advertising and you’re burning through paper. Run out of paper and your fire dies out. If you stack some blogging on top of that, you’ve got something that can burn a bit longer, but dies out after a while if you stop.

The channels that really last are the ones that have increasing returns over time. Stay consistent with high-quality blogs that answer real questions your market has, then build an email list of people who want your content delivered to them and you’ve got an audience that can stick with you long-term.

The biggest logs are the ones that take the longest to acquire and put in place. Things like organic social media can build you into a behemoth if you’ve done your due diligence to understand them and use social to educate them without trying to sell them in every post.

Summary
To step away from the fire analogy, the simple framework for business growth is centered around giving people what they want. If you have what people want, and they want it bad enough, you only have to find the people that want it and tell them you have it.

Yes, this is easier said than done. Otherwise, everyone would have large, stable businesses.

Not everyone can give the market what they want the most. Not everyone is willing to put in the time it takes to build relationships with their market and serve them selflessly.

Those who take the time upfront, however, will reap the benefits of their hard work when they begin to share their message of “I have what you want” with the market.

Ryan Baker is a growth strategy consultant with Kingly Consulting LLC and founder of Ad Master Academy, where he coaches Google Ads managers. He can be reached at ryan@kinglyconsulting.com.

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