Growth is a conscious action. In nature, seedlings become towering pines by design, not by accident. Trees grow following a planned strategy and maximizing the resources in their vicinity. A business is not overly dissimilar. Rarely will a business grow and succeed simply ‘because’. Business growth requires strategy, effort, and dedication from its driving force: the entrepreneur.
Planting the Seeds
After gaining a share in the marketplace it’s tempting to ease off the intensity that brought you there. Gaining traction as a new business is challenging and after years of taking ground, many exhausted entrepreneurs are lured into leisure, having obtained a comfortable position. Growing complacent, they remain unprepared for the inevitable shifts in the marketplace which threaten to displace them. Rather than setting your business to cruise control, it’s important to continue pushing forward for more.
Creating a successful enterprise takes skill, hard work, capital and often, a little bit of luck. Carrying a business through its first year is a feat worthy of praise in itself; the majority of new small enterprises shut their doors before reaching their first anniversary. While diligence and savvy may have carried the business this far, to go further will require more – but not of the same. Repeating the same actions as before will hardly produce a different effect; generally, it will only get you just as far as you’ve already come. Entrepreneurs eager for growth must find new products, services, or strategies for creating results much greater than before.
Growth as a Habit
Don’t talk about it, be about it. All things being equal, ideas alone don’t make money. At best, ideas can raise capital, yet raising capital is a short-term solution to a long-term challenge: turning an investment into earning potential. Feeding money into a problem simply gives the problem a larger price tag. Action is the primary impetus for growth. Moving beyond the stationary and achieving real business growth requires action-based entrepreneurial tactics. Draft your strategy and move with deliberate intent in executing it.
- Identify Opportunities
A commonly-asked question of job applicants is: where do you see yourself in 5 years? As an entrepreneur, ask the same question of your business. Envisioning the future can help reveal the necessary steps for getting there. Starting at the end and moving back toward the present, determine potential opportunities for creating growth and achieving market dominance.
Growth can mean many things. Increased market share, more customers, better margins, and much more. The right actions to take will depend on your own goals, industry, and reach but can easily include:
- Developing new consumer products or services. Innovation is a driving force in entrepreneurship. Is there something missing in your marketplace?
- Selling professional services to competitors. Expanding capabilities to serve new markets is one way to achieve growth. For example, purchasing machinery to offer services to other businesses in your industry.
- Becoming an independent industry authority. For those with the experience, becoming an industry authority can result in a number of books published, invitations to speaking and coaching engagements, and other opportunities for growth.
What is it, who is it for, and how will you act on that information? Choose the best avenue for your own growth and execute your strategy.
- Map Resources
Turn out your pockets and lay your resources on the table. Cash flow, professional and personal relationships, vendors, shareholders and your own loose change can all be leveraged for growth. Finding resources shouldn’t be hard; putting in the work to obtain and wield them might be.
Cash flow: Investment capital can be created by manipulating your own cash flow. Just as vendors offer discounts for early payment, discounting clients for services in exchange for lump payments can put capital in your pocket today. Check the books for means to create opportunities.
Relationships: Networking is a valuable resource and can pay dividends. Introduction to new markets, opportunities, distributors and more through professional contacts can grant advantageous boosts for growth.
Shareholders: Creating capital through an investment drive can grant opportunities for growth in exchange for debt, or shares of ownership. Debt and equity can help create a springboard for growth.
Capital can be found if you know where to look; managing it correctly takes skill.
- Execution and Observation
The market moves at a rapid pace. After identifying your strategy, act on it. Indecisiveness can paralyze your enterprise; execute your strategy swiftly yet maintain a careful and conscientious watch over its progress.
With the abundance of professional and technological services available it’s simple to monitor the outcome of your decisions on a live-basis. Monitor your leading and lagging indicators – what are you putting in and what are you getting out? Remain fluid and flexible to make changes to a strategy when and where necessary.
- Review and Adjustment
Share your observations with your professional team and advisory board. The motivated individuals you’ve gathered are an invaluable resource for feedback and can help boost accountability. The fact is, strategies may need be updated, and often. With the aid of an advisory board and other professionals it can be much easier to respond.
Getting in the Habit of Success
With the destination in mind, it’s time to begin the journey. Stop treading water and start moving toward the next level of growth for your business. Take an active role in growing your business into the enterprise it can be. For more on getting ready for growth, and other intelligent financial insights, visit ProsperiFi.com.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.