Scaling with purpose: 5 questions to guide you through your growth journey

Published on
March 8, 2023
Elisha Dunn
Content Manager
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Magnitudinal growth begins with a series of measured steps. 

Each of these steps must generate not just profits but also new skills and competitive mastery that allow you to create and pursue business opportunities and go toward the direction you want to go in terms of growth and scale.

However, this is easier said than done. 

The competitive landscape changes so rapidly that it is nearly impossible to predict what your next best steps should be for long-term growth.

What you can do instead is to focus on your existing business infrastructure.

Does it allow you to pivot fast enough to identify and act on opportunities before your competitors do or before the landscape changes again?

Here are 5 questions to help you find out.

1) Are you maximising your existing client base?

First, you must ensure that your account management and operating teams are equipped to build on your relationship with existing customers. 

If they are not living up to their full potential, you risk having your competitors swooping in.

But how can you help your teams retain clients and boost new sales? By looking for gaps in your customer satisfaction scores.

In our work, we have uncovered 3 areas that most scale-ups tend to fall short, including:

  • Customer service representative training: How your customer service reps make your customers feel can leave a stronger impression than your sales strategy. Make sure they are adept with customer procedures and protocols, internal business operations, and handling in-person interactions.
  • Quick, appropriate response to pressing concerns: When it comes to addressing customer concerns, how responsive are you? Remember that any issue your customers may have should always be treated as “urgent”. Otherwise, any delays or inefficiencies will cause your existing customers to question your commitment to their satisfaction. This issue rings true at every level of your organisation, not just for your front liners.
  • Solution generation: Are you proactively looking for effective solutions? Customers rely on your assistance because you are the experts. However, a clear resolution is not always possible, and a compromise is given instead. In this case, always ask yourself if you, yourself, believe in the value of the compromise you are offering to your clients. The goal is to use your proactivity to earn enough of your clients’ trust so they can be more receptive to your request and further strengthen your relationship.

Second, ask yourself if you are offering more value for every additional purchase. This can mean offering discount promos or special deals to your most valuable customers in order to boost purchase frequency. 

Third, you can increase your sales with existing customers using cross-selling strategies. What other related or supplementary products/services can you offer them that will make their experience better than your competitors?

Improving customer lifetime value and retention can mean many things, depending on what your scale-up can offer. The goal is to always look for ways to increase customer loyalty and deepen customer relationships.

2) What initiatives are you doing to attract new customers?

If you want to attract new customers, ask yourself two things: 1) what other adjacent markets can we target, and 2) is it the right time for us to expand to a wider audience? 

If so, you can then expand your value proposition and supporting messaging to a wider crowd. 

A perfect example of this is Uber. Using the same back-end tech that allowed their users to book a car and a driver to transport them anywhere, they created UberEats

Not only could they tap into their already massive network of drivers, UberEats drew in millions of new customers who may not necessarily need a ride but are interested in ordering food from home.

But what if you are not ready to expand your business and your product/service selections just yet? The same premise applies.

In this case, we look to Gillette. Originally a male-oriented brand for decades, they broadened their marketing efforts for their Venus line to women and increased their market share in the process.

3) Are you creating an environment where innovative thinking can thrive?

When it comes to innovation, Apple has perfected it to a “T”. This is because they funnel their focus on just two things: Products and people.

Their relentless focus to create products that improve people's lives is fueled by getting the answers to these 5 questions right:

  • How do we put our users first? This people-first approach can be seen in how their tech becomes more and more intuitive and user-friendly every year. When it comes to your own products, pay attention to what your customers are saying and use that feedback to create better products. 
  • How do we align our company culture to ensure our customers’ needs are always met? Innovation is in Apple’s DNA. Of course, this requires a culture of growth that cannot be built overnight. The first step to building a growth culture is tapping into self-awareness and the motivation to be better regarding the business’ mission and goals. And that starts from business leaders all the way down to different teams. We discuss this further in our blog, Growing with the flow: 3 lessons to unlock your team’s potential.
  • How do we find and retain the talent to make this happen? Steve Jobs nailed it when he said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Fresh, innovative ideas come from highly capable teams. But where most leaders go wrong is when they put these smart people in a box and stunt their creativity in the process. To maximise your teams, make sure you hire the right “fit” (read more about how to focus on “culture fit”  without undermining diversity and innovation from our blog Finding your people: 3 secrets to a happier, more productive workplace) and empower them to make their ideas heard and suggest bigger and better ways to do things.
  • How do we balance structure and flexibility when it comes to our innovation strategy? To keep the momentum going on product development, your teams need stability and predictability without undermining creativity. For this to happen, you need to set the infrastructure to manage the scope of each development, weigh the progress, oversee individual discoveries from the progress, measure efficiency, and be ready to pivot if needed. 
  • How do we focus on the important things? In pursuing the next best thing, it is easy to get lost in all the noise — great ideas come flooding in, and everyone wants to pursue every single one. But in most cases, this can cause more harm than good. So, what do you do? Look to your goals. Where do you want your company to go? And does the data in front of you support this direction?

4) Are you consistently building on your competitive advantage?

According to McKinsey, “competitive advantage is delivering superior value to enough customers at a low enough cost to generate wealth”. 

Most businesses see this as a signal to wage pricing wars. But we believe that — in order to win more market share in a highly competitive landscape — businesses need to take a more expansive approach. 

This approach starts with identifying and addressing your customers’ needs. 

To do this, ask yourself if there are ways that you can cater to different customer experiences that 1) will add value, 2) could be categorised into separate levels, and 3) could be sold at lower prices than your current offerings.

In most cases, this looks like creating an entirely different brand that a broader market will want without losing profits on your existing products/services.

As an example, we look to American luxury brand Coach.

Coach was able to attract more customers not by lowering prices on their existing products but by introducing a separate, more affordable line.

This move allowed them to stay a luxury, aspirational brand while profiting off of a broader market that cannot afford their high-priced products just yet.

5) Are you ready to go global?

Expansion does not have to come at breakneck speed. Rather, it requires a steady pace and close attention to opportunity cost.

This begs the question: With your limited resources as a scale-up, what expansion strategies and actions will give you the most value?

To answer this, evaluate these 2 key areas:

  • Your value proposition and go-to-market strategy: Before you even begin to think about expanding your business, you need to have an amazing value proposition and go-to-market strategy that are proven to win over more customers and profits than your competitors. Once you have that, strengthen them further with functional, organisational, and execution strategies. Only then will your scale-up have the bones to expand whether geographically, in new customer segments, or in new markets.
  • Your geographic strategy: What places do you have the most opportunities to win? Can you grow further in your existing geography? Or can you expand to new ones? These questions will help you decide where you want your scale-up to go and what expansion strategies to pursue. 

It is important to note that expansion does not guarantee success. To know if you are truly ready for this step, having a solid grasp of the 2 areas mentioned above is critical to winning.

No single strategy can guarantee success in growing your business. But getting the answers to these 5 questions right can empower you to bring your scale-up to the next level.

As a team, we have fine-tuned our strategy to address every unique position and exposure to different opportunities. As a result, we have successfully guided multiple scale-ups through building an infrastructure that drives and sustains growth in any market.

If you want us to do the same for you, partner with us today.