Growth Strategy Framework: Build, Optimize, Grow

Our Growth Strategy Framework: Build, Optimize, Grow

Table of Contents

Why we needed a growth strategy framework to better serve our customers

Introduction: Riding the Waves of Business Growth

Business is hard. Not only does one have to hit a virtual moonshot to connect a product or service with a buying customer (9 in 10 products fail), but you also have to do that while the ground shakes beneath your feet (competition, markets, changing technology, economic climate, etc.), and stay steady long enough to create an ongoing profit stream.

If you’re smart, you’ll lean on your resources for help understanding it all. Still, a whole universe of opinions, motivations, perspectives, and bad advice is waiting to take advantage of your curiosity and frustrations.

I get it. I live it right along with you. No, this isn’t the part where we tell you we have a guaranteed answer to your troubles for the low price of $2,999. Just the opposite: this is where we tell you what’s worked for us: growth strategy frameworks, iterative development, and continuous improvement.

I’ll save the last two for other articles, but we use a growth framework we’ve developed in-house called Build, Optimize, Grow. This article will give a brief (relatively?) overview and then work to explain the growth strategy framework we created to help our customers.

growth strategy framework: build, optimize, grow

Understanding Growth Strategy Frameworks: Navigating the Maze of Business Strategies

The idea of growth strategy frameworks is a natural development of the consulting industry. Don’t barf. There’s some value here. There’s much to say about whether consulting companies are valuable or useful, but that’s not the point. Consulting companies are great at framing and simplifying the complex machinery of business into bite-sized pieces for mass consumption and distribution.

Anyone who’s worked at a big company has undoubtedly heard either one or some variation of the following frameworks: Blue OceanAnsoff MatrixPESTLESWOT, etc. I can visibly see eyes roll when I mention a SWOT analysis. Still, if you’re in business and aren’t actively taking a formal approach to analyzing your business and where it sits (or sinks) relative to the business environment, you’re probably setting yourself up to fail. We don’t like it, but it’s a business reality.

Tailoring Big Strategies for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

The first thing I realized when I started Ytechnology was that I needed a framework to simplify all the moving pieces involved in running a small to mid-sized business.

Firstly, because a business at this level differs from a Fortune 500 company, yes, there are “best practices” that are great tools to leverage as a small company, but others can hurt a small or new business. I wanted a way to think about the industry relative to where you were in your growth journey and where you wanted to go. 

Branding is a great example; pick up any book on the topic, and you’ll get a litany of tools and tasks related to “building your brand,” both personal and corporate. You’ll undoubtedly hear how Coca-Cola is the most successful brand on the planet and how focused they are on their brand. It’s all true, and it makes sense. 

However, they don’t focus on Dr. John Pemberton, the pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola. He walked into Jacob’s Pharmacy in 1886 with a jug of unknown origin, had it sampled by the store operators, pronounced “excellent” and according to Coca-Cola:

His partner and bookkeeper pinned the trademark logo we know so well later.

Lesson: The Dr. Pemberton brand is why we enjoy Coca-Cola today. Would the pharmacy have sampled a strange jug made by a mechanic or a groundskeeper? Who he was, his background, who he pushed the product to, and why mattered for that stage of the business. Not the trademarks and fancy commercials.

Stories like these are why I created the Build, Optimize, Grow framework: to keep us focused on today’s relevant and appropriate goals while we build toward tomorrow. To have a strategy, execute it continuously, and easily communicate where we are relative to the big goals daily.    

Unveiling the Inner Workings: How the Build, Optimize, Grow Framework Drives Success

Our Growth Strategy Framework comprises three pivotal stages: Build, Optimize, and Grow. Each stage encapsulates distinct characteristics and objectives tailored to the unique needs of businesses at different points in their evolution. Understanding these stages is crucial for devising a coherent growth strategy that drives sustainable success.

Again, this structure is designed to be flexible and to give us something to connect to as a thinking tool. No more. It’s not intended to be wholly predictive; it is more operational in structure for a shared conversation about our objectives.

Okay, now that we’re on the same page. A brief explanation of our framework follows below.

growth strategy framework: Build

The Build Stage: Laying the Foundation for Success

The Build stage marks the initial phase of a company’s growth journey. It can come in many forms, from Startups and early-stage ventures focused on laying a robust foundation to secure capital to businesses that have been around for a while and haven’t nailed down a repeatable process for building and measuring growth in their businesses.

These companies can talk more about a “good year” versus a “bad year,” but not a good plan versus a lousy plan. Our focus as a company in this phase is to validate assumptions, get data processes in place, and start a pattern of testing and experimentation. The company’s core competencies, beliefs, and origin philosophies get validated in the build stage.

growth strategy framework: optimize

The Optimize Stage: Fine-Tuning for Maximum Efficiency

As companies progress to the optimization stage, they prioritize streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency.

Mid-sized enterprises and growing organizations concentrate on enhancing productivity, refining processes, and leveraging technology to drive scalability. Optimization efforts are geared towards achieving sustainable growth and operational excellence.

The focus of this stage is continuous improvement across the board. What messages work best for your target customers? What channels? What types of content do they respond to? Can we increase that response rate? We aim to get extremely good at what we know (through building) that will move the business’s levers.

growth strategy framework: grow

The Grow Stage: Scaling Towards Market Dominance

The pinnacle of the growth journey is the growth stage, where companies capitalize on their strengths to achieve exponential expansion.

Businesses in this stage focus on seizing new opportunities, diversifying their product offerings, and expanding into new markets. Strategic partnerships and innovative initiatives drive continued growth and market leadership.

At this point, you’re moving towards your goals at the pace we agreed to. You have complete visibility of what drives the levers in your business.

The question I usually pose to identify this point in the journey is this: If an investor appeared with a check to invest, do we know precisely, with near certainty (95%), where we’d invest the money how, and how long before we can provide their expected returns. 

If the answer is yes, then we’ve reached the growth stage. This is the holy grail and usually where we (Ytechnology) get off the train. There are more prominent, better-equipped advisors that can help you move through this stage and another. We aren’t designed to be permanent fixtures in your business; we work to get you to the next launching point. Scaling a fast-paced company with billion-dollar valuation ambitions is not our sweet spot; helping businesses build or improve is. 

Implementing Growth Strategy Frameworks: Turning Strategy into Action

Implementing the Growth Strategy Framework requires a strategic approach tailored to each business’s unique needs and circumstances. This involves aligning strategies with specific growth stages, leveraging relevant tools and resources, and overcoming common challenges encountered along the way. By embracing this framework, businesses can chart a clear path toward sustainable growth and competitive advantage.

With that said, a lot must happen to implement our framework. We hope to find a small jumping point on more minor engagements to build trust in our team and framework. This takes time and results, so we’re patient, but we use the framework as a communication tool in our roadmaps. I’ve learned across the years that people can’t build what they can’t see or measure, so we’re having BOG conversations as early as possible. It’s just good business for us.

Conclusion: Charting Your Course to Success

Our Build, Optimize, Grow Growth Strategy Framework serves as a guiding light for businesses navigating the complexities of the growth journey. At Ytechnology, we add value to customer engagements by aligning our strategies with growth stages, industry maturity, digital transformation readiness, etc. 

It helps us improve engagement outcomes in the short term because we are setting realistic goals and expectations. But clients can see where they are going and why (or challenge our thinking) because we use tools and frameworks that make sense to them. Sharing goals, interests, and language can significantly improve business outcomes. So, as a customer, you can expect to hear a lot about building, optimizing, and growing your business. 

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