8 Essential Principles to Grow Your Business

February 22, 2024・8 mins read
How to Grow Your Business

If you want to grow your business, slow and steady wins the race, right? Well, maybe.

Emerging trends such as corporate social responsibility and offering sustainable products have become associated with the term "sustainable business growth." But while growth might come partly as a result of consumers' views of a company's sustainability practices, the terms don't relate. Sustainable growth refers to the amount of expansion a business can handle without outpacing the budget. Therefore, slow and steady is often the course of business success.

For this, sustainable growth strategy principles exist. Here's a sampling of what to keep in mind when taking your small business to the next level.

1. Authentic purpose

Every company needs to pin down “why we do what we do.” That’s the company’s North Star, guiding every aspect, from recruitment to customer management to product development and sales.

A strong purpose drives growth and profitability. To achieve sustainable success, companies must repeatedly reexamine their sense of purpose and make sure the organization serves it well. An authentic and inspiring purpose allows for:

  • An unshakeable sense of focus and intent.
  • A strong emotional engagement both within the company and with its customers and partners.
  • Continuous, pragmatic innovation.
  • Effective communication of your unique selling proposition, or USP. In other words, what sets your product or service offerings apart from the competition?

A company’s authentic purpose gives rise to its USP. When a business has a clear vision, it’s easier to create products and services of value and clearly communicate the effects or benefits. Revlon founder Charles Revson, for instance, said that he sold hope, not makeup.

2. A powerful brand

To increase your market share, you must understand how to build brand equity and emotional connections with new customers. It’s those attachments that link customers to your products or services and will keep them returning to you. Building a brand is about developing, serving and sustaining those relationships over time. But no marketing plan can rescue a brand identity that isn’t fully formed.

Here are some basic rules to connect, influence and lead with your products and brands:

  • Determine your target audience. One sure road to product failure is to try to be all things to all people. Know who needs you and why so you can plan to appreciate, address and maybe even exceed their needs.
  • Connect with the public. Help your audience feel an emotional attachment to your brand that’s grounded in confidence in who you are and how you serve.

Whether you operate your business online, onsite or both, find ways to inspire your customers. Know that simpler messages can have more influence than those that highlight too many product features, functions or ideas.

Don’t have much of a marketing budget? Create compelling content for publisher and social media sites to generate awareness among target customer bases, and build up.

3. Partnership and collaboration

In the early stages, small business owners often do everything. While there’s nothing wrong with a hands-on approach, taking on more than you can handle can be damaging. Consider dipping into our global, collaborative freelance economy. It's increasingly easy to find talented experts if you know where to look.

Myriad web-based platforms connect businesses to specialized resources, from design and development to legal services and banking. The best part is that you can try small projects at low investments. The trick is knowing exactly what you want done and allocating resources to accomplish tangible goals.

Attending networking events is a great way to begin forming collaborative relationships or partnerships within your local community.

4. Customer retention

As authors Emmett and Mark Murphy state in "Leading on the Edge of Chaos," acquiring new business can cost an organization five times more than retaining current customers. In fact, a 2% increase in customer retention can have the same effect as decreasing a company’s costs by 10%.

According to business news and reports on customer acquisition and retention:

  • It's not uncommon for the average business in the U.S. to lose 50% of its client base every five years.
  • Companies are four times more likely to do business with an existing customer than a new customer.
  • The likelihood of selling to an existing customer hovers around 65% vs. up to 20% for a new customer.

Successful retention starts with the initial contact a business makes with a customer and continues throughout the lifetime of the relationship. Practices and approaches that support customer retention include:

  • Great customer service. Make sure your staff is well-trained, easy to reach, professional and highly attentive.
  • Employees caring about your customers as they would in their own business.
  • Perks such as a customer loyalty program, surprise best-customer discounts, targeted contests and creative customer-appreciation initiatives.
  • Invitations to special events, such as celebratory openings of new business locations.

Remember that an increase in customer retention translates to an increase in a company’s value.

5. Community

Building a business community involves more than hosting networking events. A business ecosystem is an economic community of organizations and individuals who interact in countless ways. These ecosystems encourage companies to support one another and also evolve their capabilities for a competitive marketplace.

An ecosystem can sprout up around a product, like the range of cases, headphones, and other accessories for mobile devices. Similarly, ecosystem thinking has become a cornerstone of web publishing. There, countless unpaid contributors create content for popular outlets in exchange for the opportunity to grow their readerships and personal-professional brands.

Ecosystems are crucial to sustainable business growth because they provide the structure that surrounds and supports the businesses within them. They spread stakeholdership out from inside the business into society.

6. Repeatable sales

Creating a unique product and brand isn’t enough. It takes repeatable sales processes to increase sales, generate more revenue and scale the business. It’s one thing to sign up a few customers. It’s another thing to implement sales processes that can be successfully deployed again and again at an ever-greater scale.

You’ve created a scalable sales model when:

  • You can add new hires at the same productivity level as the entrepreneur or the sales leader.
  • You can increase the sources of your customer leads on a consistent basis.
  • You have a sales conversion rate and revenue that can be consistently forecast.
  • The cost to acquire a new customer is less than the amount you can earn from that customer over time.
  • Customers get the right products in the right place at the right time.

A repeatable sales model builds the platform to scale. But it can take a lot of experimentation and intensive research before you hit on one that’s truly sustainable.

7. Grow your business through mass customization

Mass customization is the sweet spot between customized goods and services and mass production. It’s the idea that a product may not be one of a kind, but it will have some unique features. Nike By You is one of the pioneers of mass customization. Its customization process gives loyal customers a way to choose the color of their canvas, laces and logo.

Benefits of mass customization

The benefits to individual customers are apparent. They receive a customized product that better suits their preferences. Delivering on individual preferences and personalization within the context of mass manufacturing may sound like a stretch. But it’s not uncommon, nor is it counterproductive. Here's why it's done:

  • Better profit. Mass customization allows companies to charge more than they could for standard products. Apple found the perfect mass customization option with iPods and iPhones by offering after-market product engraving for personalization. Small businesses can offer the same type of customization with a service like Ponoko. Customizing products also moves customers through the sales funnel. Potential customers may become actual customers when they see this benefit.
  • Improved customer satisfaction. Customization options can raise a customer’s satisfaction as they purchase a product or interact with a company. Studies show that personalization leading to a positive customer experience improves customer satisfaction by up to 20%. Customers who feel like they’ve received something more valuable are likely to build a better relationship with your business. The higher the satisfaction, the more likely they are to engage in word-of-mouth marketing or positive user-generated content.
  • Reduced customer churn. Another advantage of better meeting customer needs is reduced customer churn. Your company will maximize the chances of retaining more customers due to the perceived value of mass customization.

8. Flexible, adaptive leadership

To continue growing, both small business owners and managers of large companies must become the leaders needed for each growth stage. To build a successful business, leaders must evolve at the right pace. That requires introspection, self-awareness and a keen sense of strategy on their part.

An adaptive, flexible leadership style comes from being mindful. People's individual, interpersonal and working lives are all interconnected. By being mindful, it's easier to understand those relationships and how best to nurture them to create, innovate and lead. Mindfulness allows us to conduct our lives and our organizations in ways that lead to long-term value creation. The most sustainable way to create value is to continually invest in our capabilities, both as individuals and as organizations. These concepts have become so widely recognized that they've inspired a new foundational approach to human resources known as people operations.

Business has its challenges, no matter the size, stage or scope. At TriNet, we’ve got the tips, tools and solutions for overcoming them. Visit us daily for news, insights and support along the HR and business management journey. For information about how TriNet's PEO and people operations services can help you operate and grow your business, speak with a representative today.

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