How to Develop A Solid Business Growth Strategy (+examples)

Business growth doesn’t just happen. It involves an intentional process laid out and executed strategically. 

If you’re unsure about how and where to start with your business growth, I’ve got you covered. I’m Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author and entrepreneur, and I’ve helped thousands of businesses grow sustainably.

 In this guide, I’ll walk you through exactly what a business growth strategy is and how to create one that works for your unique business. No fluff, no generic advice—just actionable steps and examples you can start implementing today, as well as important context of who each strategy is best suited for based on factors like revenue goals, requirements, and startup costs. 

Let’s get started!

New to IWT?

And join over 800,000 readers getting our Rich Life Insiders newsletter:

Table of Contents

What is a Business Growth Strategy?

A business growth strategy is not the same thing as a marketing strategy. 

Sure, tactics like driving traffic to your website, running pay-per-click ads, and creating content can boost your business’s visibility. But those marketing plays alone are not going to sustainably grow your company. They need to fit into a larger strategic framework.

So, what is a business growth strategy? It’s the overarching plan that defines where you want your business to be in the future and how you’ll get there.  It needs to involve every part of your business, from product to sales to finance to HR. You’ve got to approach it holistically, considering multiple angles like:

  • How will we generate more revenue?
  • What kind of leadership and team do we need?
  • How can we better serve our target customers?
  • What employee programs will attract and retain top talent?
  • Which technologies and tools will enable us to scale efficiently?

Your marketing plan, as important as it is, should flow from your broader growth strategy—not the other way around. So before you plan ad campaigns or content calendars, take a step back. Make sure you have a crystal clear picture of your long-term business goals and a roadmap for achieving them across every department. That’s how you build a strong foundation for sustainable growth.

How to create a business growth strategy in 5 steps

1. Set your high-level goals

When it comes to achieving business growth, I’ve found that starting at the end and working backward is key. What do I mean by that? Begin by envisioning your ideal future state and setting ambitious long-term goals. Then reverse engineer the steps you need to take to get there.

At this endpoint of your growth strategy, you set high-level, ambitious, but practical goals. Start by mapping out a 10-year goal, considering your company’s future growth, revenue, and workforce. Dream big, but keep it realistic. 

When you work backward, setting practical goals for shorter intervals makes it easier than staring at a daunting 10-year target. Break it down into 5-year, 3-year, and 1-year milestones. This approach ensures alignment between your short-term actions and long-term objectives, keeping you on track.

Once your high-level goals are defined, it’s time to develop the concrete steps needed to achieve them. What initiatives, projects, and tactics will move the needle? How will you allocate resources and prioritize your efforts?

Keep in mind that your growth strategy is not a one-and-done exercise. It’s a living, breathing plan that should evolve as your business does. Regularly revisit your goals, assess your progress, and make adjustments as needed. 

2. Build out key performance indicators (KPIs)

Setting goals is great, but how do you know if you’re actually making progress toward them? That’s where KPIs come in. For every goal you set, you need to determine the KPIs that will gauge whether you’re on the right track.

First, identify the One Metric That Matters (OMTM). This is the single most important KPI that will ultimately measure your success. It should be the metric that, above all others, brings the greatest value and satisfaction to your business. 

For example, if you’re running a media company, your OMTM might be audience reach. If you’re an e-commerce brand, it could be customer lifetime value. The key is to zero in on the one number that best captures the essence of what you’re trying to achieve.

Once you’ve settled on your OMTM, take a hard look at its current performance. Where are you starting from? Then, devise strategies to improve it. Let’s say your goal is to reach 10,000 people with your content, but you’re currently only reaching 1,000. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to bridge that gap. What channels, tactics, and campaigns will get you to your target?

Now, you need to remember that your OMTM isn’t the only metric that matters. You likely have other important KPIs that ladder up to your goals. Things like conversion rates, engagement metrics, or revenue growth. Give these the same level of attention and rigor as your OMTM. Set targets, track progress, and continuously optimize.

The point is KPIs are your early warning system. They tell you whether you’re veering off course before it’s too late. By keeping a close eye on these numbers and taking action when they’re not where they need to be, you can ensure your growth strategy stays on track.

3. Run Growth Experiments

Running growth experiments can be challenging, often leading to “waterfalling”—when project requirements keep expanding, resulting in delays. To avoid this, adopt shorter sprint cycles (one or two weeks) and break down big projects into Minimum Viable Tests (MVTs).

MVTs are the smallest, simplest versions of an experiment that still yield meaningful insights. By focusing on specific KPIs you want to impact, like total watch time, you can design experiments that require low effort but have high potential impact. Prioritize speed and efficiency, and avoid “turtles”: expensive, time-consuming experiments with insignificant results.

The MVT approach enables you to achieve significant wins in less time by rapidly testing and iterating. If an experiment flops, you’ve only invested a small amount of resources. Adopt the lean and agile mindset, get comfortable with rapid experimentation, and don’t be afraid to fail fast and often. That’s how you’ll unlock the insights and breakthroughs to take your growth to the next level.

4. Track Your Growth Experiments

Tracking your growth experiments is about more than just breaking them into MVTs. You need to take a hard look at whether each experiment will actually create a wow experience for your customers.

I like to use simple tools like Google Docs or Trello to map out my experiments and key considerations. But here’s the deal: focus on what your customers are really trying to accomplish, not just surface-level stuff like age or gender.

Dive deep into your customer personas. What are their pain points? Their big dreams and aspirations? Then, for each potential experiment, ask yourself: how likely is this to succeed based on what we know about our customers? And how much effort will it take from our team to pull off?

This approach helps you prioritize the experiments with the highest potential impact and ensures you’re not overlooking anything important. Because at the end of the day, tracking your experiments is about staying laser-focused on creating real value for your customers. 

5. Enforce Extreme Accountability

Every single person on your team needs to know exactly how their work ladders up to the company’s big-picture goals. If they don’t, they’re just spinning their wheels.

To make this crystal clear, you’ve got to hold regular meetings where each team member shares what they’re launching, how it performed, and what they’re doing next. And I’m not talking about fluffy status updates. I mean real, tangible results.

This level of transparency creates a culture of accountability and ownership. People start to see how their individual contributions are moving the needle for the whole company. They’re not just clocking in and out—they’re invested in collective success.

And that’s exactly what you want: a team hungry to excel, not content with just getting by. You want people who are always looking for ways to level up their skills, crush their goals, and drive the company forward.

So don’t be afraid to enforce extreme accountability. It might ruffle some feathers at first, but trust me, it’s the key to unlocking your team’s full potential. When everyone feels a sense of ownership and knows their work truly matters, that’s when the magic happens. Set the bar high, celebrate the wins, and keep pushing each other to be better every single day. That’s how you build an unstoppable growth machine.

Example of a Business Growth Strategy

Here is an example of a business growth strategy for a video content platform (think Showmax). It’s built it out following the five steps, but you can adapt it to your business. 

The Mission – To captivate and enlighten audiences through innovative storytelling

10-Year Goal

Total Watch Time: Achieve 50,000 hours of total watch time.

New Conversions: Increase new conversions by 200% compared to the current baseline.

Audience Reach: Expand audience reach to 1 million subscribers.

Interaction: Increase interaction rate by 150%.

5-Year Goal

Total Watch Time: Reach 15,000 hours of total watch time.

New Conversions: Double new conversions from the previous year.

Audience Reach: Grow audience reach to 500,000 subscribers.

Interaction: Increase interaction rate by 100%.

3-Year Goal

Total Watch Time: Attain 10,000 hours of total watch time.

New Conversions: Achieve a 50% increase in new conversions.

Audience Reach: Expand audience reach to 250,000 subscribers.

Interaction: Increase interaction rate by 75%.

1-Year Goal

Total Watch Time: Reach 5,000 hours of total watch time.

New Conversions: Increase new conversions by 25%.

Audience Reach: Grow audience reach to 100,000 subscribers.

Interaction: Increase interaction rate by 50%.

Marketing Growth Strategies

Marketing growth strategies are all about finding new customers directly. It’s about getting in front of your target audience, grabbing their attention, and convincing them to give your product or service a shot. Think advertising, social media campaigns, email marketing—anything that puts your brand directly in front of potential buyers.

Non-marketing growth strategies, on the other hand, focus on building relationships and leveraging existing assets. This could mean partnering with other businesses, getting involved in your community, or optimizing resources and processes you already have in place. It’s about finding ways to grow that don’t rely solely on traditional marketing. 

The most successful businesses often use a combination of both marketing and non-marketing strategies. But for now, let’s zero in on some specific marketing tactics you can use to take your growth to the next level.

The world wants you to be vanilla...

…but you don’t have to take the same path as everyone else. How would it look if you designed a Rich Life on your own terms? Take our quiz and find out:

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising has exploded in popularity, and for good reason. It allows businesses to reach a massive audience with laser-targeted precision. The way it works is simple: you place ads on various online platforms like social media, search engines, and websites. But here’s the kicker, you get to choose exactly who sees those ads based on factors like age, location, and interests.

The beauty of digital advertising is that it’s all based on a pay-per-click model. That means you only shell out cash when someone actually clicks on your ad. And the whole time, you can track your ad’s performance in real-time using fancy analytics tools.

Digital advertising can help you expand your reach, generate more leads, and boost brand awareness—all while providing clear, measurable results. As your business grows, you can easily scale up your advertising efforts to keep that momentum going. If you’re not using digital advertising as part of your growth strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the key to making sure your website gets seen by the people who matter. In a time where everyone and their grandma has a website, you need to optimize yours for search engines if you want to stand out.

SEO is a multidimensional strategy that covers three main areas: on-page, technical, and off-page. On-page SEO is about dialing in the content and structure of your website’s pages. This means nailing your page titles, meta descriptions, headers, and content for the keywords you want to rank for.

Technical SEO is about improving the user experience by optimizing things like page speed, mobile-friendliness, and navigation. Because if your site takes forever to load or looks like garbage on a phone, people are going to bounce.

Then there’s off-page SEO, which is all about building high-quality backlinks from other reputable websites. This helps show search engines that your site is legit and deserves to rank higher.

Just remember: if you want to crush it with SEO, you can’t just focus on one area. You need to prioritize all three. And when you start seeing your site at the top of those search results? That’s when you’ll know all the hard work was worth it. SEO is a long game, but it’s one that pays off big time. 

Social Media Marketing

If you want to get your brand in front of your target audience, you need to be where they’re already hanging out, and that’s on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X aren’t just for mindless scrolling—they’re a goldmine for connecting with potential customers, sharing compelling content, and building genuine relationships.

Social media marketing is a strategic way to build brand awareness, foster loyalty, and turn your followers into fans. Partner with influencers to expand your reach, run targeted ads to reach the right people, and engage with your community by responding to comments and making your customers feel heard.

At the end of the day, social media marketing is about meeting your audience where they are and giving them a reason to care about your brand. So don’t treat it like an afterthought. Make it a key part of your growth strategy, get creative, and watch your business soar. 

 

For more on how to implement social media marketing, read this The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Business.

Loyalty and Referral Programs

Want to know one of the most underrated growth strategies out there? Loyalty and referral programs.

Here’s how it works: you offer rewards, discounts, or exclusive perks to your existing customers to encourage them to stick around and keep buying from you. This could be anything from a discount on their next purchase to early access to new products. The point is to make them feel valued and appreciated, so they have no reason to even consider taking their business elsewhere.

You can also use referral programs to turn your loyal customers into a powerful acquisition channel. By offering incentives for them to refer their friends and family to your business, you’re essentially getting them to do your marketing for you. And the best part? Referred customers tend to be more loyal and have a higher lifetime value than those acquired through other means. It’s a win-win.

So don’t sleep on loyalty and referral programs. They’re a cost-effective way to boost retention, acquire new customers, and ultimately grow your business. Just make sure you’re offering rewards that actually matter to your audience—nobody wants a coupon for 10% off their next purchase of socks. 

Customer Research

If you want to take your business to the next level, you need to have a deep understanding of what drives your customers’ behavior and decision-making.

Customer research is the key to unlocking these insights. By conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups, you can gather valuable data on your target audience’s preferences, pain points, and motivations. And don’t neglect the importance of staying on top of market trends and competitive analysis.

With this information at your fingertips, you can make strategic decisions to optimize your product offerings, create targeted marketing campaigns, and identify untapped opportunities for growth. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to base these decisions on solid, reliable data rather than mere conjecture.

By taking the time to truly understand your customers, you’ll be able to craft a growth strategy that resonates with their needs and sets you apart from the competition. 

Market Segmentation

To effectively reach and engage your target audience, you need to understand that they’re not a homogeneous mass. Market segmentation involves dividing your customer base into distinct groups based on shared characteristics like demographics, interests, or location. 

However, not all segments are equally valuable. You’ll need to prioritize based on factors like size, growth potential, and alignment with your business goals. Once you’ve identified the most promising segments, create customized marketing plans and tailor your offerings accordingly. 

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising

PPC is a powerful tool for driving targeted traffic and generating leads, but it’s not a magic bullet. To succeed with PPC, you need to be strategic and data-driven.

Identify the keywords that your ideal customers are searching for and craft ad copy that resonates with their needs and desires. Then, optimize your bidding strategy to get the best possible ad placement at the lowest cost per click.

Don’t forget about social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X—they can be incredibly effective for reaching specific demographics. But your work doesn’t end with the click—your landing page needs to be optimized for conversions, with clear messaging and compelling calls to action.

To really crush it with PPC, you need to continuously monitor your campaigns, track your metrics, and optimize based on what’s working. Test different ad variations, experiment with new keywords, and always be looking for ways to improve your ROI.

Non-Marketing Growth Strategies

Marketing is important for growth, but it’s not the only way to scale your business. Non-marketing strategies like product expansion, asset optimization, acquisitions, market penetration, business expansion, and exploring new sales channels can be highly effective. Let’s explore these powerful non-marketing growth strategies in more detail:

Product Expansion or Diversification

By introducing new products to your existing markets, you can leverage your current customer base and brand recognition to drive sales and growth. And by entering new markets with your existing offerings, you can tap into entirely new revenue streams and customer segments.

But you need to be strategic and do your homework. Make sure there’s a real demand for your new offerings, and be prepared to invest time and resources into making them a success.

If you get it right, though, the rewards can be game-changing. You’ll increase your revenue, gain a competitive edge, and build a more resilient business that can adapt to changing market conditions.

Owned Asset Optimization

Your business is sitting on untapped potential in the form of owned assets. By optimizing what you already have—like property, ideas, and technology—you can drive growth and boost revenue without significant new investments.

Take a hard look at your assets and ask yourself: what’s not being fully utilized? Could unused real estate be rented out or repurposed? Can existing technology be leveraged in new ways?

Owned asset optimization is a smart, sustainable approach to growth. It’s about working smarter, not harder, and making the most of what you’ve already got. 

Acquisitions

By buying other companies, you can instantly expand your customer base, acquire new technology or expertise, and enter new markets.

Acquisitions also eliminate competition and create powerful synergies. When two companies with complementary offerings join forces, they can create a more comprehensive solution that better serves their customers. This can lead to increased revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction for both parties.

Of course, acquisitions are not without risk. You need to do your due diligence and make sure the deal makes strategic and financial sense. But if you get it right, the payoff can be massive.

Market Penetration

Market penetration is a powerful strategy that captures a larger share of your existing customer base and leaves your rivals in the dust.

The key is to leverage aggressive pricing, killer marketing, or product improvements that make your offering irresistible. It’s not about working harder, but smarter by finding ways to outmaneuver and outperform your competitors at every turn. 

Business Expansion

Scaling your operations is a powerful way to grow your business and tap into new opportunities. By expanding into new locations, markets, or production capabilities, you can extend your reach and unlock fresh revenue streams that take your company to new heights.

But expanding your business requires careful planning and execution. You need to evaluate the potential risks and rewards, ensure you have the necessary resources and infrastructure, and maintain a focus on your core competencies and unique value proposition. 

New Sales Channels

By exploring fresh avenues such as online marketplaces, retail collaborations, or direct customer sales, you create exciting possibilities for engaging with consumers and making your offerings more readily available.

Success lies in being thoughtful and discerning in your approach. Not every novel sales method will suit your company, so it’s crucial to research, assess potential risks and gains, and select the channels that sync with your objectives and desired clientele. 

When innovation, flexibility, and purpose align, adopting new sales channels can be a dynamic way to vary your income sources, attract untapped markets, and propel your business to higher echelons of expansion and earnings.

Final Thoughts

Each approach, whether it’s optimizing owned assets, pursuing strategic acquisitions, penetrating existing markets, expanding operations, or tapping into new sales channels, offers a unique opportunity to unlock new possibilities and achieve sustainable growth.

However, the path to success demands intentional, adaptable, and focused execution. It’s not about chasing every opportunity indiscriminately, but rather carefully evaluating risks and rewards, aligning with core strengths and values, and making informed, data-driven decisions that position your business for long-term success.

By integrating these proven strategies with an unwavering commitment to innovation, customer-centricity, and continuous improvement, you can build a resilient and thriving business that stands the test of time. Seize the opportunity to think big, take calculated risks, and capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead. The future is yours to shape!

If you liked this guide, you’ll LOVE my Insider’s Newsletter

Join over 800,000 readers getting content that’s not available on the blog, free:

Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.