Even the most successful global corporations understand one universal truth: continued success requires continued growth. As someone who works across a range of stores and manages the interests of both individual owners and head office, it’s important that you hone your growth-spotting skills. Here’s how to locate a business growth opportunity – and make the most of it.
- Analyse the environment
Monitoring environmental shifts in the market can reveal new areas to grow. Is a competitor dominating a particular suburb and keeping a monopoly on those customers? Is there good information that shows a growing community has a desire for your products or services? Keep your eye on competitors and the spread of families to the outer suburbs to spot prime positions for new franchise locations.
But the ‘environment’ doesn’t just mean the physical world. The explosion of e-commerce means jumping online is crucial to your business’s ongoing success. If your franchisees aren’t owning their space online, take the opportunity to train them in the wonders of internet shopping.
- Study customer segments
If you haven’t researched your customer base in a while, it’s well worth segmenting them into particular groups. This could be anything from age to education level to occupation to income – all these factors can give you a better understanding of your target customers and what they want from your business as a whole.
A good example of using customer segmentation to drive growth is through Australians’ focus on health foods and drinks in recent years. Say a beverage company wants to improve sales – they can use segments to reveal which customer groups are more likely to buy bottled water or vitamin drinks, and then focus their marketing and growth tactics toward that ‘health group’ for greater returns.
- Embrace online resources
Like the franchisees you manage, it’s sometimes hard to find enough hours in the day to complete every task. But online solutions are now so intuitive that you can forget about the heavy lifting of manual wage compliance or lengthy roster optimisation and instead focus on what’s most important for you and your people: growing the business across multiple locations.
- Map the customer journey
Not to be confused with customer segments, mapping the customer journey is a quick and efficient way of understanding how they get from A to B, and how you can use that path to expand the business.
Remember that not all customers are the same. Some people want to buy a single item from time to time, while others will be brand ambassadors who sing your company’s praises and get their friends and families through your franchisees’ doors.
By understanding each customer’s journey, you can be more attuned to any roadblocks to growth, and understand exactly what your customers love about the business. From there, you will know exactly what works and what doesn’t – which will streamline any expansion efforts in the near future.
- Create an HR plan
When you think about growth, you’re more likely to focus on cash flow and expert insights rather than your team. But keeping your team together is actually a core principle of company growth, according to leadership expert Vince Molinaro. He says building a solid HR plan can clarify how you recruit, develop and retain employees as the company grows.
- Recruit: Expand your hiring channels by embracing social media. LinkedIn is a hub of talent, and should be one of your first choices when hiring during a growth period.
- Screen: It’s common for small businesses to hire whoever is first in with their resume, but taking the time to screen potential employees is key for avoiding bad hires and the costs of additional training.
- Train: Speaking of training, this should make up a large part of your HR plan. Keep training standardised so everyone has the same experience – no matter which location they work at.
- Retain: Make it clear that your business environment should be positive and inspiring. While money is important to team members, an appreciation for their efforts and a vision for their future will be better received.
It might feel like a bit of a juggling act at times, but keeping one eye on the horizon for potential growth opportunities is a vital part of your role – and one that should be embraced for the wellbeing of your business.
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