Growth Rate

What is Company Growth Rate?

Company growth rate refers to the rate at which a company’s revenue, profit, customer base, or other performance metrics increase over time. It’s expressed as a percentage and can apply to several contexts, including business operations, investment decisions, and managerial oversight.

  • Business owners use the growth rate to set realistic goals and make informed decisions about expansion, investment, and resource allocation.
  • Investors use it to assess the potential returns on their investments. A company with a consistent and high growth rate is usually more attractive (though sustainability is more crucial than speed).
  • Managers track growth rates to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and operations, and to understand individual employee performance.

In business, growth rates can be positive or negative. A positive growth rate means an increase in performance metrics, while a negative growth rate indicates a decline. Growth rates are often annualized to make data more comparable across different time periods.


  • Business growth rate
  • Market share growth rate
  • Sales growth rate
  • Revenue growth rate
  • User growth rate

Growth Rate Metrics

There are several different ways to measure growth. The one you’ll use depends on the context, which is usually related to either your product/service sales, customer base, or overall company performance.

To calculate various versions of the growth rate, use the following formula:

Growth Rate = ((Final Value - Initial Value) / Initial Value) * 100

Now, let’s take a look at the most important metrics related to business growth:

Revenue Growth Rate

The revenue growth rate is the percentage change in a company’s revenue over a specific period. It indicates the financial health and market acceptance of a company’s products or services. Consistent revenue growth often attracts investors and supports strategic planning for expansion​.

Understanding your rate of revenue growth can help you:

  • Determine the potential for future success
  • Make informed decisions about sales strategies, production, pricing, and marketing
  • Assess the impact of market changes on your business

The main advantage of using the revenue growth rate is its ability to easily and broadly represent a company’s overall performance and market acceptance. However, increased revenue does not necessarily mean increased profits. And external factors like market conditions can influence it, not just company performance.

Profit Growth Rate

The profit growth rate is the percentage change in a company’s net income over time. It shows how efficienctly a company is managing its expenses and generating profits. A high profit growth rate can indicate strong financial management, but it’s important to consider other factors such as revenue growth and market conditions.

The main reason to look at your profit growth rate is to understand profitability in relation to revenue growth. You can have high revenue growth but low profits if your expenses are also increasing. And the cost of growing a business can sometimes lead to short-term losses.

For SaaS companies, an easy way to understand how their rate of growth versus profitability is to use the Rule Of 40, which states that a company’s profit margin percentage and revenue growth rate should add up to 40% or higher. Theoretically, a company with low margins can still be healthy if it’s growing quickly enough.

User/Customer Growth Rate

The user or customer growth rate is the percentage change in a company’s total number of users or customers over time. Similar to revenue growth, this metric is essential for understanding market acceptance and potential. But it also reflects changes in customers’ behavior, satisfaction levels, and loyalty.

Tracking your customer or user growth rate can help:

  • Identify where your new customers are coming from
  • Test new and eliminate old customer acquisition channels
  • Understand how changes in your product/service impact user behavior and satisfaction
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing strategies and customer retention programs

Remember that acquiring customers is can cost up to 5x as much as retaining them. So, a high user growth rate is misleading if it’s not accompanied by customer retention efforts.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Your customer acquisition cost is the total cost of acquiring a new customer, including marketing and sales expenses. To get the final number, divide these total expenses by the number of new customers acquired.

CAC = (Marketing and Sales Expenses / Number of New Customers Acquired)

In general, a low CAC is desirable, but it can vary significantly depending on the industry. For example, SaaS companies tend to have far higher CACs than ecommerce businesses. It’s best to benchmark your CAC against related companies — a relatively high CAC indicates inefficiency or poor targeting in your sales and marketing channels.

The biggest challenge with this metric is that marketing and sales expenses can vary widely. To consistently calculate your CAC, you’ll need to define and track your expenses consistently, ideally using software.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value measures the average amount of revenue that a single customer will generate during their relationship with your company. In other words, it’s the total revenue you can expect to receive from a customer over time.

CLV = Customer Value * Average Customer Lifespan


Customer Value = Average Purchase Value * Average Purchase Frequency

CLV helps your understand the long-term value of customers, guiding resource allocation towards high-value segments, and improving retention strategies. By using the LTV:CAC ratio, you can also determine whether your acquisition efforts are profitable enough to achieve sustainable growth over the long term.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)

MRR measures the total recurring revenue a company receives from subscribers each month, while ARR measures predictable revenue on an annual basis.

These subscription metrics are both vital for subscription-based businesses as they provide insights into revenue stability and growth potential, enabling better financial forecasting and planning​. They’re also the basis for how subscription businesses calculate their revenue growth rate.

  • MRR works better for short-term analysis and forecasting. It’s effective when you need to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific marketing campaign or pricing change.
  • ARR is ideal for long-term planning and investment decisions. It reveals macro trends like seasonality and overall YoY revenue growth.

It’s important to remember that revenue ≠ profit. You’ll still need to run a profitability analysis before making any conclusive decisions about your company’s financial health and position.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

Average revenue per user is similar to CLV but looks at the average revenue generated by each user/subscriber per month or year. The difference is that ARPU measures revenue over a specific period, while CLV measures the lifetime value of a customer.

ARPU = Total Revenue / Number of Users

ARPU is a SaaS metric that’s useful for forecasting and evaluating pricing strategies, as well as understanding the overall value of your customer base. You can use it to segment your customer base by average customer value and target high-value customers with retention strategies.

Churn Rate

Churn rate can be measured either in terms of your revenue or customer loss.

  • Customer churn rate measures the percentage of customers who cancel their subscription or stop using your product/service over a particular period.
  • Revenue churn rate is the amount of revenue your business lost due to customer cancelations and downgrades.

High churn rates normally indicate that customers are dissatisfied with your product/service, pricing, or customer service. It’s important to track both metrics, though, because revenue churn adds important context to your customer churn rate. It’s entirely possible to lose a significant portion of your customer base while still maintaining stable revenue growth, and vice versa.

Looking at these numbers in relation to your revenue and customer growth rates helps you understand the final impact of your efforts. You can grow at a rate fast enough to offset churn. Or, you could even achieve net negative churn.

Market Share

Market share refers to the portion of a market controlled by a particular company. Out of your total addressable market, your market share is the percentage of customers who choose your product/service over competitors.

Market share indicates your company’s competitive position within your industry. Increasing market share goes hand-in-hand with customer acquisition and retention efforts, as well as overall revenue growth.

Tracking it allows you to see how your company’s growth efforts stack up against others’ and if you’re making any measurable difference when accounting for their growth rates. You could be growing at a rate of 50%. But, if a competitor is growing at a rate of 100%, your market share is decreasing.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is the ratio of net profit to the total investment cost. It measures the profitability of investments, which could be sales and marketing campaigns, product development, or even employee training.

ROI = (Net Return / Total Investment Cost) * 100

A positive ROI indicates that your company is making a profit from its investments, while a negative ROI means losses. That said, a positive ROI shouln’t be the sole factor in a business decision — non-monetary factors like the scale and potential risks should be taken into consideration.

How to Calculate Growth Rate Percentage

Calculating the growth rate percentage involves comparing the value of a variable at two different points in time.

Here’s a step-by-step explanation:

1. Identify initial and final values.

Your initial value (V1) is the value of the variable at the starting point. If you’re calculating customer growth rate, your initial value would be the number of customers you had at the beginning of the period.

The final value (V2) represents the value of the variable at the ending point. This would be the number of customers at the end of your selected time period.

For measurability and accuracy, you have to ensure that the initial and final values are consistent in terms of the variable being measured (e.g., revenue, profit, number of customers).

2. Determine the time period.

This is the time period over which the growth rate is being calculated (e.g., year, month, quarter). You can use the exact dates, but most businesses use a number of periods (e.g., 12 months, 3 quarters) to make it easier to compare growth rates over time.

3. Apply the growth rate formula.

Use the following formula to calculate the growth rate percentage:

Growth Rate (%) = ((Final Value − Initial Value) / Initial Value) * 100

Let’s say you want to calculate the annual growth rate of a company’s revenue, where:

  • Initial Revenue (V1) in 2023 = $500,000
  • Final Revenue (V2) in 2024 = $600,000

Using the formula:

  • Growth Rate (%) = ((600,000 − 500,000) / 500,000) * 100
  • Growth Rate (%) = (100,000 / 500,000) * 100
  • Growth Rate (%) = 20% annual growth.

This means that the company’s revenue grew by 20% over the one-year period.

4. Interpret the result.

How you interpret the result depends on what you’re measuring and the context of your business. A positive growth rate indicates an increase, while a negative growth rate indicates a decrease.

However, that doesn’t mean a negative growth rate is necessarily bad. It could be the result of a strategic decision, like downsizing or restructuring, to help improve profitability. That’s why, in addition to the actual percentage, you have to consider external factors that may affect the growth rate to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the results.

In the example above, a growth rate of 20% would be excellent if the previous year’s growth rate was just 10% and the organization launched initiatives to increase product sales. But if historical growth rates were 30%, then achieving 20% growth is a decline. And, if other companies are growing faster, then a 20% growth rate may not be seen as impressive.

Growth Rate Impact on Decision-Making

Growth rates are essential metrics that inform business decisions and align different departments with the company’s long-term plans. They provide both a quantitative and qualitative understanding of your company’s performance.

You have to look at growth rate calculations when:

  • Making and communicating predictions about future growth
  • Designing and implementing growth strategies
  • Setting a budget and dividing it into categories for resource allocation
  • Evaluating the success of a new product launch
  • Tracking sales and marketing campaigns
  • Identifying areas that require improvement and development
  • Comparing internal growth to that of competitors

For example, knowing you have a low revenue growth rate might cause you to look at your current targeting, buyer engagement, sales process, and conversion rates more closely. Similarly, seeing a high customer churn rate might prompt you to reevaluate your pricing strategy and consider offering loyalty programs or incentive-based referral programs to retain customers.

It’s worth mentioning growth rates also indicate which stage of growth your company is in. Early-stage companies typically have higher growth rates compared to established companies that show more consistent but lower MoM or YoY growth.

How to Improve Growth Rates

Increasing your growth rate requires you to ramp up customer acquisition, expansion, and retention efforts. Simply put, you need to attract more customers, or get your current customers to spend more.

There are several ways to accomplish that:

  • Increase sales of existing products in the current market through discounts, promotions, sales innovation, and increased marketing efforts.
  • Enter new markets with existing products (e.g., new geographic areas or demographic segments).
  • Expand your product line or add features and bundles to existing ones to attract new buyers and incentivize current customers to spend more.
  • Diversify product lines to enter new industries or market segments.
  • Form strategic alliances to leverage shared resources and customer bases, or acquire companies to quickly enter new markets or add new capabilities.
  • Invest in research and development, digital capabilities, and new technologies.
  • Optimize your sales and marketing processes to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Since so many different levers contribute to business growth, there are dozens of different inputs you can manipulate to achieve your desired growth rate increase. That said, the most effective approaches tend to be those that increase revenue from existing customers in addition to focusing on new customer acquisition (especially for subscription-based pricing models).

People Also Ask

What is a good SaaS company revenue growth rate?

What constitutes a good revenue growth rate for a SaaS company varies depending on its size and stage of development. According to data from SaaS Capital, the median growth rate for small SaaS companies (less than $1 million ARR) is 51%.

For companies with $1-$10 million in ARR, the median growth rate drops to 35%. And for larger SaaS companies with more than $20 million in ARR, that figure is 27%. Companies with higher ARR tend to have lower growth rates due to their larger customer bases and market saturation.

Across all private SaaS companies, the median growth rate is 35%.

What is industry growth rate?

Industry growth rate (also called market growth rate) refers to the forecasted percentage increase or decrease in the size of a particular industry over a specific period. It is often measured by comparing the total revenue or sales of all companies within that industry at different points in time.

What are signs a company is growing too quickly?

While high growth rates are generally seen as a positive indicator, growing too quickly means a company may not be able to sustain itself in the long run. If a business has difficulty fulfilling orders and meeting demand due to limited resources or capacity or experiences a steep increase in expenses without an equal or greater increase in revenue, it’s probably growing too fast.

The same goes for a lack of focus on quality control and customer satisfaction, as well as high employee turnover rates. Additionally, if the company is expanding into new markets or introducing new products without proper research and planning, that can also lead to unsustainable growth and potential failure.