Unconventional Strategies for Rapid Future-Proof Business Growth


Traditional growth strategies may fall short of delivering rapid transformation in our fast-paced business world. To truly future-proof your business and spur significant growth, embracing unconventional methods can be the key.

Here are some innovative approaches that might not be the first that come to mind but have proven effective for those willing to think outside the box.

1. Broaden Decision-Making

  • Create a Shadow Board: Form a group of non-executive employees to provide input on decision-making processes. This "shadow board" can offer fresh perspectives and challenge the status quo, leading to more dynamic and flexible strategic planning.
  • Create Customer Advisory Boards: Instead of chasing new market segments, deepen engagement with your existing customers. Give them greater input, access, and even a sense of ownership in your business. Create customer advisory boards, offer exclusive insider access to upcoming products, or co-create products based on their feedback. This strategy enhances loyalty and turns your core customers into powerful advocates and co-creators of your success.
  • Decentralize Opportunity Identification: Don’t limit idea generation to top management or specific departments like marketing. Encourage all employees, including those in finance, HR, and other departments, to contribute. Communicate that everyone is in the growth business and encourage them to share their ideas. (Read our blog: The Power of Inclusive Goal Setting to learn more about how to involve your broader team in business decisions). 

2. Innovate Your Market Approach

  • Explore Adjacent Markets: Look beyond your core market to adjacent areas where your skills and products might also resonate. For instance, a sports apparel company might find success in healthcare by offering specialized clothing for frontline workers. This approach opens new revenue streams without drastic changes to your operations.
  • Engage in Internal Disruption: Rather than only focusing on external competition, disrupting your own business model can stimulate innovation. Launching products that might compete with your current offerings or adopting new business models can push your organization in new directions.

3. Optimize Operations

  • Adopt Zero-Based Budgeting: Conventional budgeting often relies on past figures. Starting from zero encourages a fresh evaluation of expenses based on current priorities, potentially freeing up resources for innovative projects.
  • Try the Start-Stop Exercise: Growth isn’t always about what you need to start doing; sometimes it’s about what you need to stop. Identify activities that no longer serve your strategic goals, streamline operations, and focus resources on more impactful areas.
  • Think Remote-First: While more businesses are starting to embrace remote work, many haven't fully realized its potential. Leveraging a global talent pool can significantly cut costs and expand your service offerings worldwide. This approach enables access to broader markets, fosters diverse thinking and perspectives, and accelerates your company's progress.

4. Rethink Traditional Advisory Resources

  • Add AI to Your Executive Team: Enhance decision-making with AI-driven insights and analytics. Use tools like ChatGPT and other advanced AI platforms to evaluate strategies and decisions, providing alternative perspectives and identifying trends. This approach can validate your current plans or uncover new opportunities, making your decision-making more robust and informed. (Check out this video on why you should add AI to your board).
  • Seek External Advisors: Bringing in external advisors can provide strategic advantages and invaluable insights from seasoned professionals. Outside perspectives are key to uncovering opportunities and challenges you might not have considered. Full disclosure, at Future Proof Advisors, we serve as a custom advisory board, offering expert advice tailored to your business's specific challenges and partnering with you for long-term success. 

5. Explore Strategic Partnerships

  • M&A as a Growth Strategy: While acquiring another company, forming a strategic partnership, or creating a joint venture are well-known growth strategies, selling your own company can be equally transformative. A sale can inject the capital and resources needed to scale your business far beyond its current capabilities. Plus, it often allows you to negotiate terms that let you remain involved in the company's future, ensuring your vision continues to guide its growth. (Considering selling your business? Ask yourself these questions first).
  • Forge Unlikely Partnerships: Beyond typical industry collaborations, try partnering with organizations outside your usual sphere. These relationships can spark unexpected innovations and access new markets, combining different strengths to create unique value. For example, a skincare company could team up with a sunglass maker to emphasize the importance of sun protection.

6. Diversify Service Offerings

  • Unbundle Services: Many companies, particularly agencies, bundle services for client convenience. However, by unbundling these services and offering them individually, you can tap into new revenue streams and attract different types of clients. For instance, an agency that usually combines photography with ad production could offer photography as a standalone service. This approach appeals to clients who need high-quality images but don't require full campaign management, thus broadening your customer base.
  • Monetize Proprietary Assets: If your company has developed unique technologies or conducts valuable research, consider licensing or selling these assets to others. This strategy not only generates additional revenue streams but can also differentiate your organization and increase your enterprise value.

Challenge Convention

Each of these strategies challenges the conventional routes to business growth, providing new avenues to not just succeed but excel in today’s competitive landscape. Embracing even one or two could set your business on a future-proof path to rapid transformation and long-term success.


Want even more out-of-the-box strategies for growing your business? Reach out to me at


By Terry Dry

Keywords: Business Strategy, Innovation, Mergers and Acquisitions

Share this article