Every business begins small – nothing can form out of a void. No matter how global a business, how many offices it has around the world, how many awards it may have one, it invariably began as a small business, serving a local or niche market. So what’s the secret to going from just a handful of people trying to meet an unfulfilled need in the marketplace to be an industry leader? Simply put: having solid business growth strategies.
There are plenty of ways to grow your business quickly, but business growth strategies aren’t about that, they’re about managing sustainable growth. Too much rapid, exponential growth in a business without the necessary infrastructure can’t be properly maintained, and often ends in disaster. Rapid growth has led many young companies to build their tower too high without fortifying their foundation, and pretty soon the first patch of bad weather brings the whole tower down.
Maintaining a manageable level of growth requires patience and perspective. Despite the conventional wisdom about starting a business, a relentless focus on the ways to grow your business, as opposed to developing well-rounded business growth strategies, can actually hurt the long-term success of the organization.
It’s okay to take a break – without some much-needed time off, you can easily lose perspective on your business’s future. Here are a few points of advice that every business owner should consider:
1. Before you Grow, Plan. When things are going well in one market, you might get the urge to jump into new markets right away. That’s fine, but make sure you plan each new entry before you jump in without looking. When you have a plan, you can set goals and measure whether or not your entry is a success. After that you can sit back and watch your business grow naturally with the increased demand.
2. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Always try to bring something new to the table. There are enough businesses out there taking the path of least resistance, so by doing things a bit differently you might find a whole new niche within your industry.
3. Don’t be afraid to fail. The road to success is paved by failure. It is almost impossible to succeed without failing first. You can learn as much from a failed project as you can from a successful one, but the most important thing to learn about failure is how to get back on your feet and keep trying.
4. Choose the right people. With serious growth comes serious job creation. Make sure not to take it lightly. One of the most important business growth strategies is not to hire the people you need for today, but to hire the people you need for tomorrow. Take all the time (and resources) necessary to find a perfect fit for every role.
5. Keep doing what keeps working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Growth happens when you’re fulfilling a need. If your business is growing, it means people like what you’re doing. To change your approach now would be to change what it is that makes you successful.
6. Stop doing what doesn’t work. Once you have identified what works, you can start trimming the fat. Identify any expenditures in your company that aren’t generating results and reallocate those resources to what is working, or to a new project.