The past couple of years have been immensely challenging for businesses across all sectors. Whilst in the pandemic and during a time of significant economic change, the swift reaction of business leaders is vital in ensuring continued business success and growth. This is no easy task but Aberdeen Business School is delivering a nationally funded programme to help SMEs do just this.
The first step to growing your business is to re-engage with your strategy. Does your firm have a strategy? Many businesses don’t have a strategy and if they do, it can be dated and there might be little evidence that it works and that colleagues are engaged with it. When creating or updating a strategy, you must consider areas such as business growth, the changing economy and even leadership development. The world, and the way we do business is ever-changing, therefore your strategy must remain a live document. Ultimately, strategy leads to vision and mission, which drives value proposition and identifying the core strengths of the firm. All of which are crucial in how your brand and products are seen by the customer or client.
Consider your businesses strengths and weaknesses. To grow your business, it is important to consider and evaluate your core business. What do you do well and what do you do that is better than your competitors? Even more importantly, do you have something that competitors can’t copy? You should reflect on why you are fundamentally in business; understanding this is a strong starting point to a forward-strategy.
You should also evaluate the external environment of your business to help you to identify the opportunities and threats. Using strategy models can be a useful in helping business leaders understand this environment and its impact on your business.
Once you have created or updated your strategy and identified your core business, next think about the type of business growth you would like to generate:
- Market penetration - Many SMEs in the UK would not say they have a growth ambition, but they would like to improve current performance. This is doing what you are doing now - just better. It is still growth if you are more efficient and successful in your existing market with existing products. How to do this well is a focus of most highly accredited business schools.
- New markets – This involves taking your existing products and entering new markets. This might mean you start selling in Dundee in addition to Aberdeen or it could be Dubai. Many of the skills and approaches are the same; understanding your client needs. Moreover, with modern tech and platforms reaching new markets can be easy if you explore digital marketing and digital technologies.
- New Products – You may have a business ambition to launch a new product, and therefore need to find a find a way to articulate the core values of the new product, how it is innovative and ultimately how it will improve satisfaction of client and customer.
- Diversification – This is when your firm embarks on a completely new product in a new market. You might even identify this need for diversification in developing your new business strategy. This point is of particular importance in Aberdeen as we transition to new energy sources. Exploring how we diversify while keeping existing clients happy is a key regional challenge.
We know that the future is going to be different, businesses will need to change internally and learn how to respond to changes in the external landscape. Business leaders should consider the above steps to ensuring longer-term success and resilience in their firm. At Aberdeen Business School we are here to help with all the options.
Need help achieving business growth?
If you are a senior business leader with ambitions to grow your business, RGU is now providing support to transform your business and delivering the Government’s Help to Grow: Management Programme.
The 12-week Programme will help your business recover and build resilience in the current climate, whilst also boosting performance and generating longer-term growth. The curriculum will support you to build your capabilities in leadership, innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business, and financial management. The content is relevant to local businesses and is delivered by local experts. By the end of the course, you will develop a business growth plan to help you lead your business to release its potential.
The course is 90% funded by Government meaning participants only pay £750. To find out more about Help to Grow: Management, the eligibility criteria and to sign up to the next Cohort starting on 1 March 2022 please visit www.rgu.ac.uk/helptogrow.