Business growth is not a linear path. There are turns, twists, ups, and downs. However, when a business establishes clear and well-defined growth goals, it is setting itself up for a more intentional growth. Instead of relying on fate and chance. Just as a construction team wouldn’t build without a blueprint, business leaders should never run a business without goals.
While there are many different types of business goals out there, some goals help move the business forward more than others. These are called growth goals. Growth goals are the goals that businesses set to make their business stronger and more successful. There are many different growth goals that a business can set. In this article, we’ll look at 9 important ones that entrepreneurs and business owners should be looking to set.
1. Grow Brand Awareness
For businesses that want to establish a brand, growing awareness is one of the first growth goals to have. When a business has brand awareness, it is easier to establish trust with potential customers. This is important for all businesses as 81% of consumers need to trust a brand to consider buying.
As a growth goal, this is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. However, many people think branding is just about putting a logo out and hoping people are drawn to it. True brand awareness is more than that. It is done through consistent messaging. It is done by consistently representing your brand across all platforms and mediums. All of your stories, messages, products, and partnerships should align with what your brand is and what it stands for.
Think about companies like Apple or Nike. Their logos, slogans, and brand narratives are instantly recognizable. These are all signs of a successful brand.
2. Increase Sales and Revenue
The most straightforward indicator of business growth is an uptick in sales and revenue. This should be the main financial business goal for just about every business. One of the common phrases used by startup founders and investors is “sales solves nearly every problem.”
Revenue acts as the lifeblood that keeps the company operable and competitive. Sales is a way to get revenue flowing. That is why these 2 metrics go hand-in-hand. The best chance that a business has at success lies in its ability to set and reach sales and revenue goals. However, increasing sales and revenue is not something that can be done by using a single strategy. Most businesses will need to incorporate multiple methods to reach each goal.
For example, one way to do this is by attracting new customers. This could mean launching a marketing campaign to get the product or service in front of new potential customer’s eyes. A business may want to increase mobile marketing efforts or perhaps partner with an influencer to tap into that person’s audience.
Another way is to deepen the relationship with existing customers. An online retailer, for example, might use algorithms to suggest complementary products, enticing customers to add more to their carts. This instantly increases the amount of products sold per customer which can increase sales and revenue totals.
3. Increase Profits
As an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be satisfied with just growing sales. Although sales are a great sign that a business is growing, profits are a better sign of the business’s overall health. Profitability helps businesses by allowing them to reinvest funds. These funds can be used to foster more growth.
The good news is more businesses are figuring out how to become profitable. Last year, 65% of small businesses operating were profitable. That is compared to only 40% in 2018. For startups, the goal of reaching profitability should be closely followed by increasing those profits.
Increasing profits is a different process depending on the type of business you operate. Many businesses can increase profits by lowering their operation, production, or labor costs. Other businesses can do so by increasing prices. While a new business should primarily focus on sales and revenue first and profitability second, an established business should be mostly concerned with increasing profitability.
4. Expand by Hiring
Human capital is a significant asset. As businesses grow, there’s a pressing need to hire more talent and, often, talent with specialized skills. A growing software firm, realizing the potential of AI, might hire experts in the field. This helps position itself at the forefront of technological innovation.
The positions you should hire to help grow a business depend largely on the nature and stage of your business, as well as the specific challenges you face.
- Administrative Support: This could be as easy as hiring a virtual assistant online or bringing in an office assistant. Their job is to take care of the administration work so others can focus on their respective responsibilities.
- Sales and Business Development Manager: This person is responsible for bringing in new business, maintaining relationships with clients, and developing strategies to penetrate new markets.
- Marketing Manager: They will create and implement marketing strategies which include digital marketing, content creation, and managing social media platforms.
- Operations Manager/Supervisor: This role ensures that business processes are efficient and effective.
- Product Manager (for product-based businesses): They oversee the development of new products, manage product life cycles, and ensure products meet market needs.
- Customer Service Support: As your customer base grows, maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction is crucial. This role manages customer relations, addresses concerns, and ensures that feedback is channeled back into the business to help improve products or services.
It is important to note that just because you’re hiring, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are growing. According to the Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that 95% of hiring is done to fill existing positions. Be sure that your hiring is in response to your growth and not as a result of your employee turnover.
5. Open More Locations
Physical expansion, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses, is a tangible growth goal. By opening new locations, businesses can tap into different demographics, cater to a broader audience, and establish a dominant market presence. Consider the exponential growth of the coffee chain Starbucks; each new outlet represents not just a place to grab coffee but a strategic foothold in a carefully analyzed market.
There are a lot of challenges involved with opening a second location. In many ways, opening a second location is like starting another business. Any business owner who thinks they are ready to take that leap must do their due diligence and be prepared for the workload involved.
6. Introduce a New Product or Service
Many businesses that have a winning product or service make the mistake of relying too much on that offering. Although it is good to take full advantage of a product or service that has a demand, limiting your business can cause an issue down the line if competitors enter your sector or the demand for your product or service declines. That is why a great growth goal for a business is to successfully introduce a new product or service.
Diversifying a business’s products by introducing a new product or service can be an important part of the business’s growth. It not only creates avenues to appeal to a broader audience but also rejuvenates interest among existing customers. When businesses launch a new product or service, they are essentially capitalizing on their existing brand equity.
It should be noted that launching a new product is risky. This is usually not the best goal for a new business that hasn’t yet understood its audience or how to sell its main offering. Entrepreneurs and business owners need to be careful not to launch a product that will take profits away from their existing offerings. They also need to make sure that the new launch is not so resource-heavy while in the research and development phase that it takes up valuable time and money.
7. Capture Market Share
Market share represents the percentage of total sales in a particular industry generated by a single business. In simpler terms, if the industry is a pie, market share is the slice that one company owns. Capturing a more significant market share indicates dominance and influence in the sector. For instance, if a company holds a 30% market share in the smartphone industry, it means they account for 30% of the total smartphone sales.
Increasing market share often entails strategies to either increase the industry’s overall size or to take away customers from competitors. While aggressive marketing, pricing strategies, and innovations play roles, understanding customer pain points and addressing them effectively can give companies a distinct edge.
Companies like Amazon, with vast market shares in multiple sectors, consistently evolve their offerings, pricing, and services to cater to a broader audience. All of this helps them gradually increase their slice of the pie.
8. Increase the Number of Leads
Leads represent potential customers who’ve shown interest in a product or service but haven’t yet made a purchase. They are the prospects on the verge of conversion. This is an obvious growth goal because more leads translate to more potential conversions. However, increasing leads can be difficult. More than 40% of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process.
Generating leads is different for each type of business. A software company may generate leads by offering webinars, whitepapers, or e-books that address industry-specific challenges. On the other hand, if a clothing business has a goal for increasing leads, they may want to leverage influencer partnerships or social media campaigns to attract potential leads.
Here are some different types of leads
- Cold Leads: These are individuals or entities that might need your product or service but don’t know it yet. They haven’t interacted with your business in any form.
- Warm Leads: These are individuals or entities that have shown interest in your company. This could mean they signed up for a newsletter, attended a webinar, or interacted with your content in some way. However, they haven’t made a purchasing move yet.
- Hot Leads: They have shown a strong intention to buy or have already made a minor purchase.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): These are leads that have engaged with the marketing team’s efforts but aren’t ready for a direct sales call. For example, people who signed up for a free trial.
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs): These are leads that have been vetted by the marketing team and are ready for a direct sales approach.
- Product Qualified Leads (PQLs): These are leads who have tried a product (like using a freemium version) and have shown interest in paying for added features or the full version.
9. Increase Cash Flow
Cash flow, at its core, is the movement of money in and out of a business. It provides a clear picture of the company’s financial health. A positive cash flow means that a company’s liquid assets are increasing.
Many people confuse cash flow, profit, and sales. While they are interconnected, they are distinct financial metrics. Sales refer to the total revenue made from goods sold or services provided. Profit is what is left after deducting all expenses from these sales. Cash flow, however, considers the actual movement of money. It takes into account operational costs, financing, and investments. A company might be profitable on paper but face negative cash flow. For example, you might have sales but if customers delay payments, it limits your cash flow.
That is one reason why increasing cash flow is a good growth goal to have. To increase cash flow, businesses can implement different strategies. One of those might be accelerating invoice cycles. For example, a business might offer discounts for early payments. This will incentivize customers to pay early so that they save money on the total cost of the product they purchased.
By focusing on cash flow, businesses can ensure they have the necessary liquidity for smooth operations and future investments. Increasing cash flow can be a long-term or a short-term business goal depending on the type of business.
Setting growth goals for your business can help you stay focused and clear on the direction you want your business to go. As previously mentioned, the goals will depend on what direction you want to take your business. Choose the right goals for you and begin implementing ways to achieve them.