Blog Inventory Identifying and navigating the Sustaining Success stage of business growth
28 May, 2024

Identifying and navigating the Sustaining Success stage of business growth

From humble beginnings to achieving significant milestones, the journey of an entrepreneur is nothing short of remarkable. You work hard to reach milestone stages, going beyond the basics, unify your operations, and scaling up your business.

As you grow your business, you’re keeping your eye on that top stage of business growth, sustaining success. 

To reach sustaining success, you’ll need to establish a market presence, diversify your sales channels, and integrate your operational data into one system. However, there’s never time to rest on your laurels as an entrepreneur, and sustaining success brings its own challenges.

Once you reach sustaining success, new challenges will revolve around using data to make key business decisions to ensure your business continues to thrive.

Let’s explore how you can capitalize on your current successes and overcome the challenges of this stage to pave the way for future expansion.

What is the Sustaining Success stage?

Also called the sustainable business growth or sustainable business success stage, sustaining success is the fourth stage of business growth.

Here are some of the key indicators that your business is in this growth stage:

  • Established market presence: You’ve built a reputable brand identity. Both competitors and consumers recognize it. You also have a loyal customer base that keeps returning because they trust your products and customer service.
  • Stable and diversified sales channels: You have multiple reliable sales channels, including an online shop, distribution through various marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and possibly have a physical store. This broader market access helps stabilize your revenue streams. If one channel underperforms, the others can compensate.
  • Operational data integration: You’ve successfully consolidated data from sales, inventory, finance, and other operational areas into a single system. This helps you streamline your operations and reduce errors like inventory discrepancies due to manual data entry.
  • Challenges analyzing data: Despite having integrated data systems, you might still struggle to use this data for predictive analysis and demand forecasting.
  • Recognized need for operational efficiency: You’re constantly looking to make your processes more efficient and cost-effective to increase profits as you expand.
  • Strategic initiatives for future growth: You’re actively thinking about what’s next, whether expanding operations to different countries, fundraising for growth, or even planning a merger or acquisition.

Infographic for Sustaining Success business stage

Priorities for the sustainable business growth stage

As your company transitions into the sustainable business growth phase, you must set clear priorities to ensure long-term success.

1. Enhance your operational efficiency

Improving your operations can significantly boost your company’s market share and growth potential while controlling costs. 

One effective way to enhance operational efficiency is through automation. 

Automation sets the stage for sustainable business growth by reducing manual errors and freeing your team to focus on larger strategic tasks like conducting in-depth market research and identifying new opportunities that fuel growth. 

Camunda’s 2024 State of Process Orchestration Report found that 91% of businesses saw an increase in their growth in 2023 after automating their processes.  In the same report, 95% of these companies achieved better operational efficiency, and 93% improved their customer experiences by automating their systems.

To optimize your workflows, focus on integrating all your processes. Solutions like Cin7 connect various departmental systems — from finance to sales — so that information flows seamlessly across your organization. Integrating data across your organization mitigates inefficiencies and allows you to adapt to market demands swiftly. 

Plus, you can avoid delays, reduce waste, and negotiate better terms with suppliers by regularly reviewing and optimizing your supply chain. 

If you notice recurring delays when receiving components from a particular supplier, you can investigate the cause. If the inquiry shows the delays are due to the supplier’s outdated manufacturing processes and logistical issues, you can take action to rectify this problem.

You can contact your supplier and discuss the need for more modern manufacturing techniques and streamlined logistics, eliminating delays and reducing defective components. If the supplier is unwilling or unable to meet your needs, you can look for a new supplier to improve your supply stability.

2. Use operational data to drive decision-making

The State of Data and Analytics report by Salesforce found that 96% of business owners say that data and analytics improve their decision-making abilities.

That makes sense because when you dive deep into your operational data — like sales figures, customer feedback, and supply chain details — you start seeing patterns and opportunities for sustainable business growth strategies you might otherwise miss.

Using data analytics and reporting tools like Inventoro, you can capture and analyze your operational data, including sales performance, customer behavior, supply chain efficiency, and inventory levels. This can greatly improve your overall growth strategy.

With detailed data, you can identify trends, pinpoint inefficiencies, predict demand more accurately, and implement proactive measures.

Let’s look at an example. If you sell outdoor equipment, you can analyze sales data across different seasons to anticipate fluctuations in demand. As a result, you’ll be able to adjust your inventory levels accordingly so that sudden increases in demand during peak seasons don’t catch you off-guard. 

Likewise, if your target audience frequently buys certain products together, like golf clubs and club covers, you can adjust your digital marketing strategies to promote these items as bundles. Grouping those popular products improves sales and increases customer satisfaction.

3. Develop strategies that adapt to changing consumer preferences

Continually adjusting is a big part of how you sustain business growth. Responding to changes in consumer preferences can help you meet customers’ needs, mitigate negative feedback, and retain more customers.

An eye-opening statistic from the 2024 Consumer Trends Report by Qualtrics reveals that 66% of customers won’t tell you directly when something goes wrong. Instead, they tell everyone else — 45% tell friends and family, 26% leave an online review, and 21% talk about it on social media.

That lack of direct feedback can significantly impact your brand reputation and customer loyalty. So, to stay ahead of the curve, analyze customer feedback from different sources and take proactive measures to meet changing consumer preferences and needs.

What does that look like? Let’s say you run a mid-sized apparel company specializing in outdoor sportswear. Based on customer feedback, you notice a significant interest in eco-friendly products driven by an increased awareness about environmental issues.

With that information, you can incorporate recycled fabrics into your product lines and highlight these changes in your marketing campaigns. By addressing customer wants, you’ll have a better chance of retaining environmentally-conscious shoppers and attracting new customers looking for sustainable sportswear.

Implementing flexible business models that allow you to adjust your product development process quickly makes these rapid shifts simpler.

If you notice a growing demand for customized eco-friendly sportswear, you could integrate a “design your own gear” feature that lets customers quickly choose from various sustainable materials, colors, and styles, and even add personalized details to their outdoor apparel. This will help you meet customer demand for unique, eco-friendly products and give you a competitive advantage.

4. Prepare for the next growth phase

At this stage of business development, you’re likely aiming for long-term sustainability and success. So, you need to prepare for the next expansion phase and set the stage for future diversification into new markets.

Keap’s 2024 State of Business Growth report emphasizes this point. The study found that business leaders who plan investments in process automation, AI, software, and strategic partnerships are more likely to meet their growth goals.

So, set clear, strategic goals based on your current market position and business aspirations. Do you want to expand into new markets, launch new products, or plan an acquisition? 

Once you set your goals, assess your financial, human, and technological resources to determine what you need to achieve these objectives.

This might mean securing additional funding or managing your cash flow better to support upcoming investments. It may also include enhancing your team’s skills through targeted training and hiring new talent to fill knowledge gaps.

Suppose you run a software company and want to add AI capabilities to your tools. You decide to create a new AI-powered product but realize you need more experts in your team to achieve this goal. 

As a result, you might reorganize your resources to hire some top AI developers and train your current IT team to boost their skills in artificial intelligence. That way, everyone will be ready to contribute to the new project and help your company compete in the new space.

How Cin7 helps businesses in the Sustaining Success stage

Cin7, an intelligent commerce platform, transforms how small businesses manage their operations by offering a robust inventory management solution that ties together all the moving parts of the company — from finance to sales. 

By acquiring Inventoro, a leader in AI-driven sales forecasting and replenishment optimization, Cin7 added additional AI capabilities, giving product sellers enhanced tools to manage their stocks and orders more effectively.

With increased functionality, Cin7 helps businesses in the Sustaining Success stage to:

  • Gain a holistic view: AI-driven forecasting technology enhances small business’s ability to integrate inventory, orders, sales, and financial data. You get more in-depth insights to spot inefficiencies and opportunities much faster.
  • Get actionable insights: Cin7’s provides precise demand forecasts and daily performance updates. As a result, you can predict future demands with impressive accuracy and make decisions that keep you ahead of the curve.
  • Tailor your pricing strategies: Cin7 leverages AI-driven analytics to inform pricing strategies so you can adjust your pricing based on real-time data about market trends and competitor activities. 
  • Optimize your product offerings: Cin7’s replenishment optimization feature ensures that product availability matches market demand. This feature helps you adjust your product lines based on accurate predictions of customer preferences and emerging market trends to reduce costs from overstocking and missed sales due to stockouts.

Achieving sustainable business growth with Cin7

The Sustaining Success stage is your opportunity to invest in new technologies and growth strategies that refine your business operations so you can maintain a competitive edge and prepare for future opportunities.

Cin7 is an intelligent commerce platform you can rely on. It automates all your processes and offers real-time data you can use to understand your business better. That automation results in efficiency and a level of detail that frees you to focus on sustainability strategies and future development instead of chasing day-to-day problems.

Schedule a free demo today to find out how Cin7 can help you sustain your business success while planning for the future.

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