Fast company growth has become too prevalent in today’s business environment. When a company’s reckless growth starts to negatively affect the quality of its products or services and, ultimately, falls short of customer expectations, the initial impetus for growth no longer distinguishes that company from its competitors.
Instead, “SmartGrowth,” or prioritizing quality over quantity as you grow, should be a concern for all companies, large or small, public, or private, B2B, or B2C. Being the greatest at something rather than the biggest is a more sustainable strategy as a business grows and scales.
What is SmartGrowth?
SmartGrowth is a business growth strategy and philosophy which focuses on measured and quality business growth that does not sacrifice the qualities that made the business successful in the first place. SmartGrowth prioritizes prudent planning, alignment, training, and excellent customer service as critical factors when balancing successful growth, quality services and products, and customer expectations.
SmartGrowth seeks to optimize business processes to increase revenue while maintaining product and service success variables. SmartGrowth is all about a company using its existing resources in the most purposeful way possible.
Similar to how farmers use the seasons to judge when to plant or harvest, SmartGrowth provides businesses with a strategy to judge the best times and opportunities for grow.
All in all, SmartGrowth requires a company to approach growth in a thoughtful, practical, and very logical way.
Why is SmartGrowth important?
Many business experts believe in the business adage “the smarter you grow, the less chance you have of wasting resources.” Businesses that expand too quickly or recklessly tend to make more critical mistakes, and in the first few years of a business one too many mistakes can be fatal.
SmartGrowth is important because it not only prioritizes revenue growth, but the sustained quality of a company’s products and services, talent and culture, customer relationships, as well as other relevant success factors—including, social and environmental considerations. SmartGrowth focuses on creating long-term value for all stakeholders (customers, employees, and owners), rather than just short-term profits for shareholders.
One benefit of SmartGrowth is that it can help businesses to build stronger and more loyal relationships with their customers and employees. By prioritizing quality product and service offerings and maintaining a competent workforce and strong culture—businesses can demonstrate their commitment to creating customer value and positive impact, which can help to attract and retain customers and employees who share those values.
Another benefit of SmartGrowth is that it can help businesses to reduce potential negative environmental risks associated with scaling. For example, by using a SmartGrowth approach and investing in sustainable practices and technologies, an expanding enterprise can reduce versus increase its dependence on fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, which helps to reduce business’ environmental footprint and operating costs over the long term.
A further benefit of SmartGrowth is that it can also help businesses to mitigate social risks and build stronger relationships with local communities. By investing in social programs and community development initiatives, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of the communities they serve, which can enhance value and help to build trust and goodwill among stakeholders.
Important factors a business should consider when planning its SmartGrowth.
Here are some important factors a business leadership team should consider when planning its SmartGrowth:
Factor 1. Invest in your Workforce and Culture by Keeping and Hiring the Right People.
Factor 2. Focus on Customer Satisfaction and Customer Value.
Factor 3. Pay Close Attention to Your Competition.
Invest in your Workforce and Culture by Keeping and Hiring the Right People.
The workforce and culture of a business are its most valuable asset. Before a company can give any serious consideration to growth, it must have a solid workforce and culture in place to help achieve its goals.
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.” — Marc Bennioff, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce
Therefore, any growth ready enterprise should invest in training and development, offer opportunities for career growth and advancement, and create a positive work environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.
When a business has hardworking employees who are dedicated to the company’s success, the enterprise will be better equipped for continued growth. In addition, a business that cultivates a collaborative work culture is better positioned for the onboarding and integration associated with business growth.
Focus on Customer Satisfaction.
Since customers’ perceptions can make or break a business, customer satisfaction is a key to driving long-term business growth. Focus on building strong relationships with your customers by providing high-quality products and services, delivering exceptional customer service, and soliciting feedback to continuously improve.
“Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers there is no company!” — Connie Edler, CEO of Breck Edge
When a business delivers quality experiences and products and services, customers will quickly start to sing your praises on social media and other media platforms. On the other hand, when a business fails to deliver quality, customers will tell the world about their negative experience even faster. SmartGrowth prioritizes making your current and potential customers happy and valued.
Monitor your Competition and Create Value.
Keeping a close eye on and understanding your competition is an essential to managing SmartGrowth and creating customer value. At all times, a business must understand a) who its’ competitors are, b) what they are doing that gives them a competitive edge, and c) how it can improve to counter its competitors’ efforts.
Furthermore, it is important for a growing enterprise to create the perception via marketing in customers’ minds that they are receiving a greater value than offered by the competition. Two effective ways to create value and competitive advantage are through cost advantage and differentiation advantage. Cost advantage occurs when a business provides the customer with a product or service at a lower price. Differentiation advantage occurs when a business provides the customer with a higher quality product or service and/or a value-added experience.
“The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition is to do an outstanding job with information.” — Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation
The understanding of your competitor and the ability to create customer value will help an enterprise with its’ growth strategy.
Businesses always strive to bring in more revenue, increase their brand footprint, and improve their market share. However, without the right strategy in place, many of these businesses that experienced early success eventually fail because they grew too fast and sacrificed too much. These enterprises should have consider using the agile, consumer sensitive, and value-added strategy for business expansion known as SmartGrowth.