sales and marketing


According to Harvard Business Review, about 87% of companies will experience a growth stall at least once.

It’s practically unavoidable, but there are ways to manage your business growth to ensure your stall is, in fact, just a stall—rather than a predictor of future performance.

In this blog, we’ll cover how we define an effective business growth strategy, ways to identify growth opportunities in your company, how to scale operations sustainably, and how marketing can support your overall growth strategy.

What Makes for an Effective Business Growth Strategy?

While it may seem straightforward, a business growth strategy is more than just a series of steps—it’s an action plan focused on more than just increasing revenue.

And for a business growth strategy to be effective, it needs to accomplish three things. First, the strategy needs to touch on the core values of your company. What’s your mission? What core values do you hold most important? What are the core competencies of your business? Getting to the root of these questions will help you form the foundation of your growth strategy.

Second, an effective strategy needs to be adaptable. Trends, technologies, and people change—and all those things need to factor into your growth strategy. An approach that might have helped you grow exponentially 10 years ago may no longer work for you now, so you need to be ready to reevaluate your plan regularly (even monthly or quarterly, for many businesses).

Third, for a plan to be effective, it needs to be simple. Can you explain your strategy quickly to someone in an elevator? Can you simplify it down to just a sentence? Complexity doesn’t scale, so your plan needs to be concise, specific, and easy to understand—so everyone can get on board.

But where do you start? Let’s cover ways to find out the growth opportunities in your organization.

Related: Think Like an Entrepreneur! Break Through The Growth Stall

Identifying Business Growth Opportunities

You know your company has room to grow, but how you go about your growth plan won’t look the same as your competitors—or even what you did the quarter before. Your needs will change, new gaps will emerge, and you’ll have to adapt as needed.

One of your first steps should be examining—and strictly defining—what growth looks like for you. Are you looking for an increase in revenue? More customers? More brand awareness? Newer products? A combination of many of these targets? How you choose to define your growth is strictly personal, but keep that target as your north star as you build your strategy.

Next, you’ll want to conduct a thorough analysis of market trends and opportunities. This means using a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis to uncover your growth potential. What’s working? What isn’t? What could be done better? What’s holding you back from growing? 

Click here to see how you can learn from setbacks to become more resilient (and grow more). 

Being honest with yourself (and your team) about challenges, setbacks, and opportunities is crucial in breaking through a growth stall and catapulting your business. But growth doesn’t happen overnight, so let’s cover ways to grow more predictably and sustainably. 

Related: Business Growth Strategies for 2024

Scaling Operations for Sustainable Growth

While some companies see immediate success from things like virality, the truth is that growth isn’t a race—and often, those who see rapid growth will often experience a rapid fall after.

That’s frequently because those businesses just can’t keep up with demands, so it’s important to grow incrementally and add as you need. Logically, your first goal in creating a sustainable growth strategy is to hire and train employees for scalability and productivity. 

We’ve seen the headlines of companies that have hired too many too quickly and have had to lay off hundreds of workers—and that’s simply not a path most want to (or should) follow. Make hiring the right people, training them appropriately, and filling actual (rather than perceived) gaps your objective.

Because you’ll want to focus on hiring quality employees, you’ll want to support your team with efficient operational processes and systems. One way to accomplish this is by adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies to simplify work. Giving your team time back wherever possible goes a long way in increasing productivity. Rather than focusing on time-consuming work like pulling data, your team can prioritize more high-value projects that directly contribute to your business growth—and their own personal development.

Of course, throughout the entire process, you’ll need to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to track growth progress. Like we mentioned earlier, your strategy will need to adapt, and it’s important to use the data you glean from this step to determine how exactly you shift your strategy. Is there a better way to allocate your budget, time, or resources? Are certain projects delivering more than others? Ask yourself these questions regularly, and adjust accordingly.

Related: How Small Businesses Can Leverage AI for Growth and Innovation

The Role of Marketing in Business Growth

Good marketing has tremendous potential to expedite growth—which is why companies are increasing their marketing spend. In just the U.S., marketing spending increased to $480 billion in 2022.

But it’s not enough to just put more dollars behind your marketing. First, you’ll want to make sure your products and service offerings are actually delivering what your customers need. And to do that, you’ll want to conduct buyer interviews. Without this crucial first step, you’ll be making decisions in the dark. 

Click here to learn why buyer interviews work, and how a marketing leader can conduct them for you.

The better you know your customers, the better you can deliver what they’re looking for. And if your market is highly saturated and competitive, the ability to deliver exactly what your customers want and expect will be your differentiator. And that doesn’t just have to apply to what your product or service is; it can also be in the delivery.

Does your audience want a subscription-based service? Which payment plans do they prefer? Does your brand have a loyalty system in place? What’s your stance on environmental sustainability? All of these questions will factor into a customer’s buying decision, and you can tap into each of them by marketing your products and offerings appropriately.

But getting to know your customers and how they make decisions is a time-intensive process, which is why you’ll need the help of a qualified marketing leader to get you there. Many companies are turning to fractional CMOs to conduct buyer interviews, relate the findings from those interviews, and build out targeted strategies to get the job done.

Related: How a Fractional CMO Can Help Grow Your Business

Take Growth Into Your Own Hands

There’s a lot that factors into growth: Your products, your resources, and your strategy are all hugely important. But narrowing down on exactly what you need to do to grow requires effective leadership.

If a full-time CMO is out of your budget, a fractional CMO can deliver the same high-quality work—but at a fraction of the cost.

A fractional CMO works within your company, helps you build an effective growth strategy based on the real-life needs of your customers, and stays on to make sure your plan is executed thoughtfully.

Want to see how it all works? Click here to schedule a free, 30-minute call with one of our leaders to get started.


Need guidance knowing how to best use AI to enhance your marketing approach?

Check out The Role of AI in Marketing for practical advice and insights from real-world peers.
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