What separates good businesses from greater ones? In this video, I discuss what ultimately sets the good from the great. We look at thinking beyond just revenue and profits and what is it that you need to focus and prioritise on so that you unlock remarkable business growth.
The common belief is that a business can only grow by increasing its revenue and profits. However, this is not always the case. There are other strategies that a business can use to grow, and in some cases, they can even be more effective than the traditional approach.
Here are some strategies that can help a business grow, while challenging the dominant narrative:
- Prioritise Customer Satisfaction
One of the most important factors that can help a business grow is customer satisfaction. Happy customers are more likely to come back and refer their friends and family to your business. Rather than focusing solely on increasing profits, companies should prioritise customer satisfaction by providing quality products and exceptional customer service. This can help build a loyal customer base to sustain the business in the long run.
This is exactly how Trader Joe’s, a popular American grocery chain, has turned its customers into fanatics. The chain is famous for its varied but interesting mix of unique food items that are sold at reasonable prices. But beyond their product lines, they have a distinct way of delivering a winning customer experience. For one, they strive to have a consistent in-store experience so that anyone walking in their San Francisco, California store will find the same items and the same shopping experience in their Cambridge, Massachusetts store. This an incredible feat for two reasons. Firstly, there are close to 600 locations across the United States. Secondly, and most significantly, they sell almost exclusively items under the Trader Joe’s label, which are usually in high demand. Trader Joe’s is known for its unique and value-for-money products with a cult following.
They also have fun quirks that make the grocery shopping experience less stressful, particularly for parents shopping with kids. Trader Joe’s staff hide stuffed animals inside the store for kids to find. When they do find the animal, they are rewarded with a sweet treat! Not only does this engage their youngest customers, but it also makes the entire experience fun for everyone.
- Focus on Employee Development
Another way to grow a business is to focus on employee development. By investing in the development of your employees, you can improve the quality of your products and services and increase customer satisfaction. This can lead to better retention rates, reduced recruitment costs, and a more positive work culture, all of which can lead to business growth.
Let’s go back to our Trader Joe’s example. Why do you think they can deliver an engaging and fun customer experience? It’s because Trader Joe’s knows that the key to making customers happy is by making their staff happy. What makes the shopping experience fun, unique, and even profound is the staff—and Trader Joe’s is intentional about investing in their staff because they know that this is the secret formula that sets them apart from other grocery stores.
Staff are paid well, including part time employees. Unlike their competitors, even part timers get medical benefits depending on weekly hours they work. A special report found that, “Crew members indicated that they felt empowered to make decisions, were collaborative in their relationship with others, and were motivated to high levels of performance.”
- Promote Ethical and Sustainable Practices
Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental and social impact of their purchases. By promoting ethical and sustainable practices, businesses can attract customers who prioritise these values, and improve their reputation in the marketplace. This can ultimately lead to increased customer loyalty and business growth.
Patagonia is an example of a business that makes their sustainable purpose profitable. In 2011, Patagonia made headlines when they ran their famous “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign on Black Friday, undoubtedly an important day for retailers when they sell products at deeply discounted prices to mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season. That year, Patagonia’s sales increased by 30% and they experienced their most profitable year to date. In 2021, they decided to donate 100% of their Black Friday sale profits to organisations working to save the planet. Guess how much they made? They reached a record-breaking US$10m in sales.
- Collaborate with Other Businesses
Collaboration with other businesses can also be an effective way to grow a business. By partnering with other businesses that complement your offerings, you can expand your customer base and tap into new markets. This can lead to increased revenue and profits, as well as opportunities for innovation and improvement.
Nike and Apple, for example, has been in partnership since the early 2000s. It started with the early iPod collaboration that Nike+iPod created a line of fitness trackers, sneakers, and clothing that tracked activity while integrating music into customers’ workouts. The partnership has evolved with the use complex activity tracking technology built into athletic gear that can be synced with Apple devices, such as the phone and watch. Most recently, Apple and Nike have agreed to a multi-year partnership to produce and develop new sports-themed films.
While increasing revenue and profits is a common narrative in business growth, it is not the only way to achieve success. By prioritising customer satisfaction, employee development, ethical and sustainable practices, and collaboration with other businesses, businesses can challenge the dominant narrative and still achieve growth and success.