Growth is very important for any business. Even if you don’t aspire to the heights of Amazonian world domination, you’ll experience a natural turnover in customers and growth projects are necessary to find new ones and maintain your footing. Even modest growth in real terms helps make you more stable, diversifying your revenue across more and different customer groups, supported by a wider variety of products, meaning any one group of product undergoing an upset is less of an overwhelming disaster.
Growth is not without its risks, though, and never more than if you’ve not consciously thought about how you want to grow, and how that growth fits in with the business you’re building. The risks of poorly considered growth that isn’t integrated with an overall plan for your brand are possibly worse than simply never trying to grow your business at all, so it’s this issue we’re looking at today.
What’s your Brand?
One of the biggest risks of poorly considered growth is brand damage. Firstly, growth projects that fail, fail in the open. They don’t just cost you money, they cost you prestige and trust – they make it harder for you to claim to your customers you’re the expert they should come to for what they need. Why should your customers trust you to advise on their business, their bathroom or their haircut when they’ve seen you fail to get your own business right?
A more subtle kind of brand damage can accrue over time, with expansions that seem to be individually successful but taken together undermine your brand and make it harder to understand. It’s important to understand your brand isn’t just a slogan or a logo. It’s the character customers assign to the impersonal legal structure that a business, in truth, is, in order to relate to it personally: to feel loyal to it, to enjoy their interactions with it. It’s your brand that customers recommend to friends, and for all the work you put it into it, it’s built by customers out of all the interactions they have with every aspect of your business.
If your offering starts to become inconsistent or hard to understand then it’s harder for customers to build that relationship, and create the brand you’re aiming for. For example, adding products that don’t make up a consistent offering, even if they’re individually popular, is a way to undermine your brand and make it hard for customers to choose it and recommend it. The bike shop that sells coffee and house plants, as well as recipe books and scented candles has no singular identity for customers to hold onto.
If you’re worried about these issues there are solutions available. Looking into the strategy consulting firms London has to offer might help you find a specialist you can collaborate with to devise a sustainable growth plan for your business.