3 Growth Strategies Small Businesses Can Learn From Google
To perfect your growth, emulate the successful strategies of industry giants.
When it comes to running a small business, you have to do much of the legwork yourself. For better or worse, you are the master of your fate, and the success of your organization lives and dies depending your ability to make strategic growth decisions.
You may own a small business now, but planning for long-term growth means considering the possibility that you will not always be a small business. With the correct planning and execution, the entrepreneurial seed you plant today could grow into the multinational conglomerate of tomorrow. To plan for successful growth on that scale, it helps to look to the shoulders of other giants who began as small businesses.
One especially ubiquitous small-business-turned-next-generation superstar is Google. Combined with its parent company, Alphabet, Google is worth an estimated $1 trillion. The company is so influential that the term “Google” is now a verb in the dictionary.
If you’re a small business owner looking to emulate the success of Google and other major growth-oriented companies, the following three tips will help your business replicate the Google playbook to achieve growth, attract investment and foster organizational success.
1. Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate
Before you can sail off into the sunset with a small business idea that will net you millions, you need an idea. But not just any idea. It would help if you had a business model that stands out from competitors for offering something others are not.
Think about Google. It’s certainly not the only search algorithm out there. Other big names in the industry include Bing, Yahoo!, Ecosia, Ask, and many others. At the same time, none of these companies do what Google does nearly as well. That’s because Google differentiates itself with a search algorithm that is constantly learning, evolving and growing. Its goal is simple: to provide users with the absolute best results instead of the most results.
Google’s playbook is about quality, not quantity. As such, they become rewarded for their attention to a market need that improves lives and solves problems for billions of people every single day.
Like Google, your product (and the very nature of your business) does not have to be entirely new. What’s important is that you develop an aspect of your business that is new. Instead of simply replicating previously successful businesses, create elements of a new model that will anticipate a market need that does not currently exist. If you can do this, you’ll be on the path toward steady growth in no time.
2. Expand into new areas
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spread across a variety of industries and owns some surprisingly big names: YouTube, the GPS app Waze, the exercising wearable textile brand Fitbit and more.
The aforementioned is an integral part of any business playbook model. As an entrepreneur, it’s important not to put all of your eggs in one basket. If your small business revolves around a single product, business model or selling strategy, what will you do when the market need for that product, model or process stagnates?
Unfortunately, this is how many businesses fail. Startups that receive angel investment with hopes of turning their idea into a budding national company often flounder after spending all of their funds on a single, unattractive business model. Instead of relying on one vision or strategy, consider diversifying your business and solving a host of needs for your specific audience.
Google isn’t the only player that knows the value of expanding. Amazon began as a bookselling outlet, and Uber was not always a food-delivery service. Elon Musk started as the creator of PayPal — now his space exploration company has its sights set on Mars.
When it comes to running a small business, no dream of expansion is too big. In truth, expanding when the time is right is quite possibly the best thing you can do for yourself and your business.
3. Excel at your market niche
Google knows that diversification and expansion are essential. Still, it never loses sight of its actual value as a business: providing top-notch search results for countless people every day.
The point of expansion and diversification is to safeguard yourself against the potential of an idea that does not pan out. However, once you’ve found an idea that does work and you connect with an audience that wants more of it, it’s essential to hone in your niche and become a top market player.
Becoming the best at what you do takes time, practice, investment and innovation. It’s probably the most rigid tip to replicate, and it’s not a “get rich quick” scheme. Simultaneously, if you pay attention to your craft, focus on building your business and create a business model that genuinely excels, you’ll set yourself up for positive growth in both the short and long term.
The biggest takeaway for entrepreneurs itching to replicate the growth strategies of Google is simple: Growth is all about learning. The more you study the growth patterns and systems of market giants like Google, the more prepared you will be when your business is ready for its next growth spurt. By differentiating your business model, expanding into new markets and excelling at the services and goods you provide, your business seed will grow wonderfully — and profitably.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor