How can I assess my growth strategy

The 3 ‘S ’strategy for successful growth - Part 1: SMART

The 3 ‘S ’of growth: SMART, Sustainable and Sincere
Growth is probably one of the most used buzzwords of the digital age, yet the term is often misunderstood or misused. What exactly does growth mean and how can it be strategically planned? In our multi-part series on this topic, we highlight three criteria that should be considered in any successful growth strategy. We will start with the topic “Setting SMART goals”.

What does growth mean?

According to the Webster Lexicon, growth can be considered as a Process of construction or describe the development. The term is further defined as an increase in the number, quantity or size of a thing.
Is Growth Always Good? The answer probably depends on what is being measured. One would certainly rate growth in sales, the increase in the national gross domestic product or the quality of life as positive. The growth of the unemployment rate, child poverty or income inequality, on the other hand, is what most of us would describe as negative.

In a business context, growth can refer to any size from revenue to market capitalization or customer base. But healthy growth needs to be planned: Regardless of the size of the market or the type of company, it is essential to have a well-thought-out one Growth strategy to ensure that business advancement is not left to chance.

What is a growth strategy?

A simple definition is as follows: A growth strategy is a plan of action that is aimed at increasing one's own market share, even if this results in a short-term loss of profits. The scientific literature suggests four main growth strategies: Diversification, product development, market penetration and Market development. Which of these growth strategies a company chooses depends largely on factors such as finances, target group and industry.

In addition to the well-known scientifically discussed strategies, there are other important approaches for setting up a successful growth strategy. One of them is setting goals. This should always be done according to the SMART principle. Coined by George T. Doran around 1981, the SMART acronym provides 5 essential criteria that any goal should consider.

Why every successful growth strategy should have SMART goals

Smart goals are the be-all and end-all of a good growth strategy. You will now find out in detail what this can look like and which questions you should ask yourself:


a goal that is specifically formulated should provide answers to the most important ones W questions offer: what? Why? Who? When? And with whom?
For example: what exactly do we want to achieve? Why do we want to achieve it? Who is responsible for that? When should the goal be achieved? And - what resources do we need to achieve it? For a sustainable growth strategy, it is essential to set precise and specific goals. So you set yourself a yardstick to monitor your own progress and at the same time focus on the right one priorities to focus.


In order to be able to check your own progress and to stay motivated, it is important to set measurable goals. For this you need suitable ones Key figures, because without a measure it is almost impossible to determine whether you are on the right track.
A measurable goal should answer questions like

  • When do I know that I have achieved my goals? or
  • What is my indicator of success?

Offer. An example of a measurable goal would be to generate at least 20 new sales leads every day or to increase the number of LinkedIn followers by at least 100 per month. The progress of these goals can be easily checked - unlike vague phrases such as “generate more leads” or “increase the number of LinkedIn followers”.

Reachable (achievable):

Goals must be achievable and realizable. However, that does not mean that one should be satisfied with the simplest possible resolutions. Instead, it makes sense to choose each goal that makes it one out of the comfort zone tempts without being completely overwhelmed.
In addition, you should ask yourself which skills, tools or resources are required to achieve the respective goal and whether you already have them or possibly still need to learn them. A achievable resolution should provide answers to the following questions:

  • How can I achieve this goal?
  • Do I have the resources and the capacity to achieve this goal?
    • And if not - what am I missing?

Gaining 1 million new followers on YouTube or having a 100% market share in your own competitive environment are ambitious, exciting goals, which, however, have to be carefully planned and checked for accessibility.
Setting unrealistic or even impossible goals not only affects personal development, it can also lead to considerable demotivation and disappointment.


The criterion of relevance refers to the extent to which the respective goal is parent context contributes. In simpler terms, each goal should be more relevant to the overall business objectives while aligning with the growth strategy. The following questions can be used to check whether this is the case:

  • What is the purpose behind this goal and does it help us to achieve the former?
  • Does this goal match our other activities and needs?
  • Is this goal appropriate in our socio-cultural environment?

If the goal is to launch a new product, for example, it must be ensured in advance that this harmonizes with both the company's own business strategy and the conditions of the respective market.


Each goal has a time frame and a start and end date. If the goal is not timed, it can quickly happen that you lose motivation halfway through or give way to everyday, less important tasks.
Imposing a time schedule on yourself helps the urgency to be able to better assess the tasks. A timed goal should include answers to the following questions:

  • How long will it take to reach my goal?
  • What can I do today to help achieve this goal?

Asking such specific questions makes it easier to define the process in more detail and to decide which steps need to be taken and when.

Conclusion: SMART goals are the basis of every growth strategy. Those who choose their goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely, set the course for generating planned growth. But the two other factors of the 3-S philosophy are at least as important: sustainability and sincerity. In part 2 of our series on growth strategies, you can find out why these should not be missing from any growth strategy and how they can best be used for your own company.