Every company under the sun wants to grow and take their business to that next level. Often growth can creep up on us too quickly and we rush decisions without stopping to ask – why and how are we growing?
Short term growth is nice but if you are tearing down your foundations and values at the expense of the future then you ought to take a moment’s pause. Growth shouldn’t be a way for us to massage our egos and boast on LinkedIn.
The stereotypical response to growth is to hire more people, upgrade into a flash new office, open another store and increase the salary bill. But how often do these developments fill us with an empty feeling of somehow betraying our core business principles? Instead, we should look deeper into why we got into the business in the first place and focus on how we can deliver further value to our customer and client. Depending on the nature of your business, this could mean staying small and agile or creating economies of scale through expansion. The following 5 considerations can help you slow down and contemplate growing for the right reasons. Here’s how to grow your business:
Your customer has to be at the heart of your growth strategy. If you are willing to compromise your customer’s happiness in the hope of increasing your margins, then you have embarked on a slippery slope. Presumably, you got into business to solve a specific problem for a certain audience – so remain true to your ideal customer and their changing needs.
As Richard Branson puts it: a company is simply a group of people coming together to work towards a specific goal. The most difficult aspect of business growth is maintaining that positive culture that allowed you to grow in the first place. When you introduce new people into your company make sure they are committed to adding to your company culture.
In an ideal world, growth would be achieved through the prism of offering a new and innovative product or service that your competitors simply can’t match. If you are growing and have capital free to invest, then the best place to start is to invest it back into your product to make it even more valuable to your customer. While sales and marketing are important, your product is still what your consumer is going to pay you for.
Branding and sales are a crucial component to any successful enterprise, neglecting or taking them for granted can be a fatal mistake. There is simply no point in building a great new product if no one in the world knows about it and your company is left sitting there twiddling their thumbs wondering why the phone isn’t ringing. When your brand can stimulate sales and drive increased profit, then you have more capital to invest in the future.
Profitability should be your priority as a business, it may be an obvious one but many owners enjoy the vanity of a high revenue number. Think of the term – ‘revenue for vanity, profit for sanity’. From the daily expenses to the need for new capital investment, your ability to understand the numbers is essential. Planning growth should be in areas that enable consistently and where possible recurring revenue opportunities. Consider what products and activity are working for you and what is hurting. Are there new markets that will increase both profit and revenue that you are not currently in? Get your accountant and bank on board – if they are in the loop they can help you far more easily than when you are in trouble. Schedule your growth along with your cash flow, negotiate terms, growth hack and generally project the cash in the bank.
Ultimately growth is a good thing, but growing too quickly can cause more problems than good. Also remember, you have to grow the way you want to because each business is individual in its needs.
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