Local Business Growth Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide
February 3, 2023
Growing a local business takes more than just wishful thinking, it requires a comprehensive business growth strategy.
But what is a business growth strategy? This comprehensive guide lays out exactly what you need to get started.
What is a Local Business Growth Strategy?
A local business growth strategy is an action plan for growing your small business in the local community.
Simply put, it outlines everything your business needs to do to grow.
There is no one size fits all business growth strategy. The right solution will be unique to your business, brand, audience, and location.
Key Business Growth Examples
There are a handful of ways that your business can grow. Depending on your business goals (more on that later!), you should have more than one growth avenue when creating your local business growth strategy.
Organic growth occurs when a business grows and expands naturally and internally, using its resources.
An example of organic growth is streamlining internal processes to improve production or time spent on administrative tasks allowing for increased sales or increased availability for client interactions.
One of the benefits of this type of growth is that it requires only internal resources, it can be achieved without accumulating any debt.
Internal growth is similar to organic growth in that it, too, relies on internal resources and processes.
This type of growth requires businesses to focus on internal operations, trimming waste, to maximize resources.
An example of internal growth would be cutting costs by automating certain tasks and processing rather than hiring more staff to do the same work.
This can be difficult for businesses as it means shining a bright light on the company’s inner workings rather than focusing on external factors like market expansion, for example.
Strategic growth focuses on expanding the business in the long term. This might include developing new products or finding ways to reach a new niche or target market.
One drawback of strategic growth initiatives is that they may require significant time, energy, and money.
The best way to approach strategic growth is often to focus first on organic growth and invest any profits generated through those efforts into a long-term strategic growth strategy.
Mergers and Acquisitions
This business growth carries the largest risk, but some significant benefits exist.
Mergers, partnerships, and acquisitions can allow your business to expand into new markets, increase product or service offerings, and grow your customer and client base. But they may also limit your control or facilitate rapid growth that you need to manage properly.
Local Business Growth Strategies To Bookmark
Every successful and sustainable business has a strong, well-thought-out growth strategy. This direction, or road map, will enable you to expand your business, grow your customer and client base, and increase profits.
Here are some strategies to keep in mind when planning the next steps:
One of the most powerful local business growth strategies is your current customers!
Customer retention refers to keeping or retaining current customers by turning them into repeat customers.
There are two real benefits to this growth strategy.
First, it can cost six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. And, previous customers are more likely to purchase than potential customers as they are already familiar with your brand. Not only are previous customers more likely to purchase, but they are also likely to spend more than newly acquired customers.
Second, if you can keep your customers happy, even after purchasing, they will do some marketing for you! Word-of-mouth marketing is effective as it has built-in social proof. People are more likely to trust a recommendation or a review from a real person in their lives or community than to trust your word.
Generally, these local business growth strategies focus on increasing customer satisfaction, building brand loyalty, and strengthening customer relationships.
Small or local businesses often struggle to compete with national or international brands. But one way to carve out a competitive advantage is to segment the market or target customer base.
Breaking down your audience into small parts can help you speak more clearly and directly to the specific needs of each segment.
For example, your general target market or customer base may be the city of Chicago, but segmenting that larger audience by geography can increase your effectiveness. Customers in one neighborhood are likely searching for local variations in their own neighborhood compared to a neighborhood over.
Market segments do not have to be created along geographic lines. You can segment the audience by age, gender, buying habits, and more.
With market penetration as your local business growth strategy, you will focus on selling more of your products or services within the existing market. In many ways, this is the strategy that carries the least risk. People are already buying what you sell; all you’re trying to do is get them to buy more.
This strategy is particularly impactful in an industry where there isn’t much difference between your products and your competitors’ products.
Some “basic” tactics related to market penetration include lowering prices, giving rewards to existing customers for referrals, and offering incentives to new customers.
This business growth strategy can be riskier than many others as it may require significant investment into research and development with no guarantee that it will pay off the way you want.
But having said that, product development, or product expansion, introduces new or improved products to your current offering, helping you to capture more of the market.
Product development could include expanding a current product line, introducing a new line of products, bundling existing products & services together to create a unique “package”, or updating an established product with new features.
Step by Step for Developing Your Local Business Growth Strategy
Here are some of the steps you should consider when making a comprehensive local business growth strategy:
Consult a Local Marketing Coach
One of the easiest things you can do when building a local growth strategy is to team up with a local marketing coach like Little Jack Marketing.
But exactly what can you expect from a local marketing coach? A marketing coach will work with you, and be more than simply a consultant, to develop the best strategies for your specific business.
And more than providing ongoing support, a local marketing coach can help you develop the rest of your business growth strategy, setting you up for the greatest possibility of success.
Research The Market
You may have conducted market research before starting your business, but you should take another look when looking to develop a business growth strategy.
By conducting market research, you will have a renewed understanding of your current customers and identify new potential customers.
This is also an opportunity for you to identify barriers to success, avenues for potential growth, and opportunities to take action.
Define Your Growth Pathway
Growth is a great objective. But simply saying you want to grow your business doesn’t say much. How do you want to grow?
Do you want to increase revenues? Grow customer base? Add new products? Do you want to expand into more locations?
These three examples are vastly different, and how you achieve each one will require different actions.
Identifying how you’d like to grow is the key to the rest of your growth strategy.
Establish Your 3-5 Key Business Growth Goals
Without specific goals, how do you know where you want to go? Goals are a guiding light when developing and enacting your business growth strategy.
Consider using the OKR method. OKR stands for objectives and key results. With this method, you will identify your objectives and establish about 3-5 key results that will be the benchmarks used to measure your success in reaching the objective.
The key results should be specific, measurable, and realistic.
An objective can be long-term. It can be rolled over across different periods, but the key results used to verify the object should evolve as the process continues.
An example of a growth goal and its key results could be to increase your market share in the next 6 months by going from 1 to 2 brick-and-mortar locations and increasing monthly customers and clients from 240 to 360.
Choose and Implement a Growth Strategy
Now that you’ve established your goals and objectives, it is time to determine your growth strategy.
Think about your objectives, your budget, and your position in the market when making this decision. It is possible to combine growth strategies if that is the best and most productive path forward. In this process, identify who is responsible for doing what action so everyone on your team works towards the same end.
If your goal is to increase leads generated through your website, this is the time you would start to take action. You would implement SEO changes, increase blog posting frequency, run online ads, develop and implement a social media strategy, etc.
Analyze the Results
Once you’ve implemented your local business growth strategy, and it has been running for a reasonable amount of time, take a look at the key results to ensure they are moving in the right direction.
When you do this will depend on the goals and objectives. If you have implemented inbound marketing strategies, for example, you will want to give it 2-3 months before making significant changes.
At the very least, we suggest looking at the results at the end of every quarter. And when you do, be sure to consider the bigger picture.
The same is true of an underperforming growth strategy. Look at what exactly isn’t working. The more you understand why you are coming up short, the more you can improve your growth tactics and connect better with the audience.
Optimize Your Local Business Growth Strategy
Each time you analyze the results of your growth strategy, you should optimize your tactics and even the key results.
If you identify something that is working, find ways to do more of that. If something isn’t working, it is time to switch gears and find something else that will.
Analyzing your results has already given you much of the data you need to make these decisions. If you are working with a local marketing coach, they can go over the results with you and support you in developing a local marketing strategy that is the most effective.
Growing With Your Local Marketing Guide
Now that you understand what a local business growth strategy is, the types of growth you can achieve, and a few of the growth strategies available, it is time to figure out how to develop one for yourself!
It’s always best to grow with a marketing coach alongside. At Little Jack Marketing, we deeply dive into your industry and target market, taking the time to understand your product and your position in the landscape. As marketing experts, we provide advice on growing your business instead of simply suggesting some strategies and leaving you to sort it out.
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