Preparing the business for growth: what does success look like?
If you’re ready to take your business from being a thought leader to a market leader and beyond, success hinges on a robust marcomms plan. To define the right way forward for your business, there are some big questions you and other leaders in the company will need to answer.
Research shows that many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are not fulfilling their potential. To push themselves forward to the next level, SMEs often need a solid plan for growth, and to improve both confidence and a competitive edge in their field. According to McKinsey, halving the productivity gap between SMEs and large companies would equate to a total value of $15 trillion, or 7% of global GDP!
Preparing your business for growth takes some careful planning and detailed consideration of some key questions. At Haynes MarComs, we have defined a process to help our clients dig deep and get to the heart of the most important business considerations for growth. This helps us deliver both short term gains, as well as long term assets to the marcomms strategy.
Here are some of the questions you need to consider when planning for growth.
What is the vision?
Thinking about where you want your company to be in the future is crucial - and it’s not always an easy question to answer. If you’ve struggled to reach the growth you want so far, it may be that the vision you have defined in the past is not quite describing where you want to be. Consider both what you want to achieve for the company itself, and what you are looking to do for your industry. This might help to root the direction of your company in the all-important wider context.
Who do you need to persuade?
Defining your audiences is key to any marcomms plan for growth, and you’ll need to interrogate the characteristics of these audiences in some depth. Your audiences are the people you need to persuade and convince – perhaps to buy your product, or to buy into your business as an investor. There may be an aspect of needing the wider industry to take you seriously and help build your credibility too. Look at any challenges or difficulties you’re having with audiences or stakeholders at the moment. Or perhaps you're having challenges around retention and recruitment, and the employee side of your business? Gaining some understanding of where the current friction lies will help guide your planning.
Who will be strong allies?
Most businesses don’t reach success by themselves. That’s why it’s important to think about who your allies could be within your industry. Consider who could help you move up the ladder as a business. It might be working with partners or industry associations, or it could be working with influencers who have clout in your field. Mapping out your allies, as well as how you will connect and partner with them, is one strand to adding credibility to your growing business.
Who can talk on your behalf?
Word of mouth is still the most impactful form of marketing today. So when creating a marcomms plan that will help you grow, you do not want to be planning to do all the marketing in your own voice. Think about who could effectively talk about the value proposition of your business. Your allies may play a role here, but you’ll also want to look towards experts and consultants in your field, or perhaps people with senior job titles in your customer base. Finding a way to get other people to talk positively about your business is a key part of your journey towards growth.
What are the benchmarks?
Benchmarking is all about creating tangible measurements to see how your business compares to competitors and to your own objectives. The purpose is to see where you can improve, and to keep track of your growth and development within the industry as a whole. If you don’t already do this, you need to. And if you haven’t looked closely at your benchmarks for a while, it’s important to review them. Look at your business drivers, decide on the most appropriate competitors to benchmark against, and compare your strategic objectives. This will help you analyse everything from how efficient your processes are, to how customer satisfaction levels compare.
How do you measure impact?
Most businesses have key performance indicators (KPIs) which help define success for a business. Do your KPIs specifically understand the impact of each and every tactic you use, or market engagements you undertake? And do you have any KPIs that can help you demonstrate if you’re gaining ground in building market share? If you’re striving for growth, it may be time to review your KPIs, to ensure you’re measuring the right things to lead you to success.
Industry sentiment, brand awareness and positive PR will help you build connections and manage credibility, however to really have a commercial impact it’s essential to focus on relevance.
Consider how you want to be known in the industry, and be conscious of how you may be perceived. In difficult markets and challenging economic times, it will be commercially dangerous if you’re a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘necessary’ product or service to drive commercial success.
It’s important that your value proposition is brought to life in real-contexts engaging with what is happening in the here and now. By harnessing the ability to be relevant your value framework will resonate with your core buyer personas.
Haynes MarComs prioritises relevancy to ensure certainty. Find out how we can help your business.