What the best companies are focusing on with regards to growth

It’s always useful to understand what the ‘greats’ are doing — because no one either wants to or needs to reinvent the wheel.

Businesses with a growth-focus run on a growth marketing strategy have two major agendas to which they must cater: The current market and the internal stage of business they’re currently in.

With the bevy of ‘hacks’ and the mindset of ‘quick fixes’ swirling around the possible paths businesses can take for growth, there has to be dependable and data-driven strategies cutting through the noise. These strategies are fundamental in guiding successful business from stage to stage in a sustainable and somewhat predictive manner.

To understand what these strategies are, consider the choices growth-oriented businesses have made when it comes to focus and priority.

‘Growing small businesses are significantly more likely to be focusing on innovation, e-commerce, social media, training and exporting’ — CPA Australia (2016)

  • In 2017, growing businesses were much more likely to have invested in technology. Examples include data & insights strategies and business intelligence platforms/data visualisations.
  • — 78.3% of businesses that grew say that they were more profitable and ‘profitable sooner’ because of this choice, versus the 22.3% who did not grow
  • 3% and 34.7% of businesses that grew strongly mentioned that improved business strategy and improved business management, respectively, had the most ‘positive impact’ on growth
  • 2% of businesses that grew in 2017 earned more than 11% from revenue from online sales
  • The relationship between employee training and growth is undeniable: 92.7% of businesses that experienced growth also focused on training and hiring, to not only respond to growth but actually catalyse it. In Indonesia, 42% of businesses were reported to be ‘growing strong’ and 51% were ‘growing a little’, the highest of all APAC regions. By this graph, Indonesian businesses are also the ones that have focused on growing their employees in actual numbers in 2017. This incidence tells us that training and hiring a burgeoning workforce is an effective growth strategy

Source: CPA Australia Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey of 2016

  • Social media is a major component of growth: 73.7% of those who used social media for business purposes reported growing in the last 12 months
  • 93% of businesses that grew put out a new product, service, or process unique to their market or niche
  • 5% of those businesses that grew added an e-commerce presence to their online sales
  • Overseas expansion and internalisation is a major component of strategic growth— 94.1% of businesses expected revenue from overseas sales to grow their business

Source: CPA Australia Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey 2017

‘Growth, jobs and innovation go hand-in-hand in the small business sector as it does in other sectors’ — CPA Australia (2016)

Overall, then, these numbers paint a compelling picture. In the APAC region, businesses that reported growth in the past 12 months were significantly more likely than businesses that did not grow to have:

  • increased staff numbers
  • used social media for business purposes
  • sold their products or services online
  • accessed external finance
  • reported that improved customer satisfaction and improved business strategy were major factors that had a positive influence on their business

‘Undertaking certain activities — drivers of growth — increases the chances of a business growing strongly’ CPA Australia (2017)

And what are these ‘activities’?

Source: CPA Australia Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey 2017

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