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Today’s marketplace is increasingly competitive. Every entrepreneur and company strives to be an industry leader and develop the latest and greatest innovations to disrupt the market and best position themselves. The road to success is often not straightforward, and many companies fail to achieve the necessary goals. But why do some ventures realize strong success and rapid growth while others do not?
Common traits are shared among many of the world’s fastest-growing companies that others can adopt to help increase their growth and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Here’s how they excel within the market:
1. Innovate new products and services with clear strategic intent
In a constantly changing environment, it is essential to understand and adapt to new consumer trends. The most successful companies understand the firm’s strategic purpose and effectively develop an innovation agenda, often with strong novel combinations of products and services. They go to market with the latest “must haves” for their customers, often establishing a competitive advantage.
Studies have demonstrated the positive impact that product and service innovation can have on a company’s top and bottom line trajectory. Hopper, a travel booking site, has focused on innovating and developing their app and cloud technologies. Now, you can book flights, hotels, rental cars, and homes in one seamless transaction. Hopper complements their travel products with peace-of-mind services, such as price reductions, freezes, cancelations and a premium VIP experience.
The company’s strategic intent is clear — to be the most seamless, convenient, and price-competitive travel portal on the market, especially for first-time users. This committed effort has attracted a $96 million investment from Capital One Travel “to accelerate the company’s growth on several fronts,” following $170 million in fundraising garnered in 2021.
2. Thoughtfully explore new business arenas beyond their core
Companies need to reinvent themselves and expand into new arenas to grow. Consumers’ needs are constantly changing, and high-growth companies excel at identifying new markets to move into based on new consumer behaviors. However, new business arenas are inherently more risky and costly to explore because of the distance from their core. Hence the common question: How much attention should one devote to speculative areas while also maintaining and improving core business? The answer is a thoughtful exploration through sequential steps that build on each other and accumulate to drive real transformation.
Roku Inc.’s business strategy illustrates this. Twenty years ago, Roku became an add-on for existing television HDMI ports. In 2007 Netflix chose not to build its own hardware and instead invested in a partnership with Roku, setting in motion Roku’s path. The company then launched a service allowing advertisers to serve ads to Roku users, followed by the launch of the Roku Channel, and in 2014, they released their first Smart TV. This is a progression of incremental well-sequenced steps, stretching the company beyond its core yet setting the foundation for real transformation.
3. Invest in their people wholeheartedly
Employees are the engine of any business. They represent your brand to customers often better than anyone else and express the company’s culture in a critical way for attracting new talent. Leading companies provide their employees with opportunities to learn new skills and further their professional development, foster an inclusive environment of respect and collaboration, and provide flexible working arrangements. This translates to high employee retention, increased productivity, and a strong reputation for the firm.
This is why companies like ClickUp invest in their people. They prioritized new workspaces with employees front of mind. New offices include open floor plans, standing desks, rooftop terraces, and gyms. Meanwhile, Airbnb has experienced over one million new prospects visiting their job portal since announcing their “permanent work from everywhere” policy. Additionally, LinkedIn offers a $2,000/year wellness benefit for people to expense on activities related to physical or mental well-being.
4. Carefully monitor and adapt to new technologies
Every company must have the capacity to adapt to new technology or be left behind. Furthermore, companies can raise productivity and cut costs by tailoring technology to their needs.
Campbell Soup, the iconic brand that has brought its soup products to American dinner tables for nearly three centuries, is leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to inform its product development better. According to FoodDive, Campbell’s “Insights Engine” uses AI to scan billions of data points that their innovation team then uses to predict where a strong trend is emerging, if it will last, and if any of their brands are positioned to exploit it. This process has informed the launch of oat milk-based soups and FlavorUp, a cooking concentrate that enhances food flavor, pushing new products to account for 2% of yearly net sales with a line of sight to reach 3.5% by 2025.
5. Focus on customer experience and truly understand their customers
According to Forrester, companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 84%! With the rise of digitization, the most innovative companies are providing more tailored support with 24/7 customer service. Both parties benefit by surpassing potential or existing consumers’ expectations: customers have a positive experience, and companies grow.
L’Oreal dialed up its focus on people with limited mobility by launching its novel HAPTA make-up applicator at CES 2023. The applicator uses “built-in smart motion controls” and “customizable attachments” to increase the user’s range of motion, helping the customer open product packaging and self-apply make-up precisely.
Companies that continue to innovate their products and services, explore new business arenas, invest in their people, adapt to new technologies, and focus on the customer experience place themselves in a position to succeed in 2023 and beyond.