Growth can take two forms: organic or driven by mergers or acquisitions. Mergers and acquisitions often grab the headlines, in large part because of the enormity of the deals. And while these are certainly proven strategies for growing a business, most businesses actually thrive through “organic growth.”
Since organic growth relies heavily on a company’s core expertise, specialized skills and experience, it often provides a reliable and sustainable path to increased long-term growth and profitability. Our most recent research shows that high-growth accounting and financial services companies, including those engaged in M&A activity, owed on average 85% of their growth to organic growth. So even if your business has a M&A plan in place as part of its growth strategy, you’ll also want to achieve at least some of your growth through sales.
Let’s take a look at five organic strategies used by high growth companies that your firm can use to achieve healthy organic growth:
Develop a clear image of your target audience: Our research at Hinge found that accounting firms that routinely research the wants and needs of their prospects grow up to 70% faster and are up to 50% more profitable than companies that don’t do research. . The information uncovered by research can provide essential information to help you focus your marketing efforts and specifically address the main concerns of your ideal prospects for a new business for greater success.
Specialize to create more value for your business: Everyone wants to work with an expert. Accounting firms that generalize the appeal to no particular audience increase competition and make it more difficult to articulate their value to prospects. Specializing in a well-defined niche allows you to reduce marketing costs by focusing your efforts on a smaller, more valuable target audience. Our studies have shown that high-growth accounting firms are 75% more likely to specialize in a specific accounting service or industry.
Clearly define your competitive difference: The unique attributes of your business are called “differentiators”. They help to distinguish you from your competition. Here’s an example: Your accounting firm specializes in the pharmaceutical industry – that’s your competitive advantage.
Accounting firms with unique differentiators have a much easier time defining their competitive difference, communicating their value, and winning new business. However, identifying high value differentiators is crucial. Three key factors define a powerful and compelling differentiator:
- Relevance; and
Is your statement true? Is it relevant to your prospect? Can you prove it? No one really believes that you are “number one in the industry” or really believes the claim that you are “the company that puts the customer first”. Claims like these fall flat because they are not demonstrable and have no real value to the prospect.
Balance your marketing efforts: Much like investing in the stock market, investing in growing your business requires balancing your awareness campaign with a mix of traditional and digital marketing tools to minimize risk and ensure effective coverage. Studying the target audience will reveal how your best prospects prefer to receive information about potential suppliers and partners so that you can effectively invest your marketing budget in the most effective channels.
Tracking your marketing results is just as important as investing in the right marketing channels. This allows you to refine your campaigns and maximize your marketing investment. And while most businesses follow the basics like new customers, revenue, and profitability, high growth accounting practices also track and analyze specific metrics to better understand their effectiveness. This can include variables such as:
- Website traffic;
- Social media engagement;
- Brand awareness;
- Lead generation; and
- Conversion rate.
Most online marketing resources such as social media platforms offer free or low cost activity tracking tools that allow you to quickly spot the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing program, giving you the opportunity make the necessary course corrections in real time.
Make your expertise visible: Determining your company’s differentiators should reveal its expertise, if you weren’t already fully aware of it. However, expertise is intangible and the challenge is to make it visible and noticeable to prospects. So how do you do this? By demonstrating expertise through valuable, objective content that uses your business expertise to provide solutions to issues or issues that concern your ideal prospects (this is where the research comes in again). This content may take the form of web pages, blog posts, articles from industry publications, white papers, information sessions, in-person presentations, webinars, and videos, for n ‘ to name a few.
As more and more people see, download, and share your content, the authors in your business who generate it become what we call visible experts. They are the sought after industry thought leaders that others are eager to work with, as they can provide the significant advantage that your clients and potential clients are looking for in growing their own business.
Their value, and therefore the value of your business, directly contributes to organic growth and provides you with a substantial marketing advantage that no onerous inorganic marketing campaign can match.