advertisement
advertisement
The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Fueling your growth engine: How to grow 5x faster than your peers

Expanding too quickly is, admittedly, just as detrimental for your business as not expanding fast enough.

Fueling your growth engine: How to grow 5x faster than your peers
[Monster Ztudio / Adobe Stock]

If you’re doing things right in your business, you should grow consistently over time. But consistent growth isn’t necessarily enough. You also have to look at how fast you’re scaling and make sure your competitors aren’t outpacing you.

advertisement
advertisement

Two simple principles can help you grow at a rate that puts you sufficiently ahead of the pack. This translates to growing market share—and don’t you want your fair share or more?

RELIABLE TECHNIQUES FOR RAPID GROWTH

1. Deliver more options.

Today’s global market allows dozens of companies to offer products or services similar to yours. You’re not going to get far in this environment if you don’t differentiate yourself. An easy way to set yourself apart is to deliver or do more for customers. Instead of just one product, for example, maybe offer three or four. Even if you want to stay specialized in your core capabilities, there’s usually more those capabilities can do. For instance, say you make sweaters. You can offer more designs, sizes, fabrics, or colors and still stay within your area of expertise.

advertisement
advertisement

Probably the best example of delivering more is Amazon. It started out just selling books. But because it expanded with more and more products, it evolved into a convenient, one-stop business that dominates the market.

2. Get more market share from existing customers.

Bringing in new customers is a good thing, but it comes with a price tag. So, it’s smart to look at the customers you already have and see how you can increase the value you offer them.

advertisement

For instance, if a customer usually spends around $1,000 with you, what can you do to motivate them to spend another $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000? Maybe that means offering more options. But sometimes it just means improving your operations so there’s more trust and people start turning to you as their default choice. Other times it means being more proactive, such as hosting more events. Looking at what your competitors are doing and how customers respond is a good way to understand what you could do to get more from your current buyers.

TWO BIG CONSIDERATIONS ON YOUR GROWTH JOURNEY

As simple as the suggestions above might sound, they do come with some challenges. The first is resistance to change. Your team might be pretty happy right now and hesitant to stray from what they know. Or they might think that because they tried something before and it didn’t work, it’s not going to work if they try it again now. This resistance to change tends to intensify the longer people are in their industry.

advertisement

As a leader, you have to shift your team’s mindset to be more flexible and accepting of new things. You also need to help them see that, because things are constantly advancing, you’re constantly finding new solutions to problems you might not have been able to fix before. It’s ok to go back to revisit areas and see if the environment is finally right to make an idea workable. Modeling, providing good data, finding internal advocates, and gradually implementing new options with lots of reassurance are all strategies that can make people more willing to pivot and think differently.

Additionally, be careful about your approach to failure. For instance, let’s say you have four choices you could pursue: A, B, C, and D. Maybe A works a lot. Maybe D works a little. Maybe B and C don’t work at all. But you won’t know unless you go after all those choices and evaluate the outcomes. And by looking at as much as you can, you teach people it’s ok to try a lot of different things to find some winners. That builds an innovative culture. On the other hand, if you only pursue one option and that doesn’t work, and if you say, “See, we shouldn’t have done that,” then people become scared to branch out. The same holds true if you offer a big incentive then tell people they’d better not lose because a lot is on the line. So, have the courage to fail and the faith that you’ll succeed.

NOT TOO QUICK, NOT TOO SLOW, BUT ALWAYS AHEAD OF THE REST

Expanding too quickly is, admittedly, just as detrimental for your business as not expanding fast enough. Growth takes some finesse. But by achieving a pace that’s ahead of others, you can lock in your place as an industry leader. Delivering more options and reaching for more market share with the customers you already have are simple ways to get better results without drastically changing what you’re doing. As long as you get people out of a fixed mindset and take the right approach to failure, those strategies can make you much more competitive. Go after them now to scale well and ensure you can compete.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement