3 Steps to Jumpstart Business Growth
When I work with companies and people, the usual driver in the beginning is:
‘I want to grow…’
Whether that is revenue, personally, stock price, or just in size, growth is almost always the goal. The problem comes in the next portion of the conversation.
Followed closely by my personal favorite question:‘What does that look like?’
Everyone ‘wants’ to grow. I contend that some of you just want to, and then a small percentage of you actually will. Here are a few steps to test yourself and give a jumpstart to the process.
Explore your why. Your why gives you motivation. It is what you will point to when things get hard and say ‘I have to make this happen because of …’ The stronger the why, the stronger the chance of success. Your why can be anything from needing financial stability in your life to making sure all of your employee’s families are taken care of and have opportunities beyond their wildest dreams. It can be customer-centric such as ‘Providing the safest widget ever made,’ or it can be societal in nature ‘Changing peoples lives for the better.’ Each of these provides a window into why you do things. One word of caution: many people start with a why and quickly realize that it is not true to them. Continually reexamining that why is so important so that the track is maintained and you will stand against the waves of difficulty that will try and knock you off course.
Take inventory. I don’t mean go count your widgets… (Though that is not a bad idea either.) I mean assess where you are. Get a clear picture of your current financial situation. Really dig into what is working and what is not in your company. Get some data that is real versus what you ‘think’ is true so that you can make some decisions and chart some courses with some form of logic to back it up. Tweet: Businesses are started on emotion, they are nurtured and grown with logic. Invest some time up front in building your history so that you can keep repeating what is working and stop what is not. Where is your business weak versus strong? Have you surveyed your customers and even your team to see what their thoughts are? It can be lonely at the top and leaders many times can’t see the problems because their well meaning teams shield their eyes. They want so desperately to impress and make their leader happy that they will not allow the leader to see the ugly issues. The bigger a company gets, the worse this problem is… So take inventory of where you are, where you have been, and where you want to go. Then, create an action plan from the data, not from the latest whim and idea.
Call in reinforcements. Businesses have a tendency to hit plateaus. Different industries have different levels, but all of them have it. As a company grows, the problems and challenges will change. No longer is it finding someone to do that… Now it is finding someone to manage the person that does that. No longer is it deciding to spend a few dollars on marketing, now it is being sure a large budget is being allocated to the right areas. Many times the leadership of a company was perfect for one level, but needs to learn a little about the next. As always with learning, there are two ways. The easy way and the hard way. I liken it to a toll lane in a major city. You can struggle and stress through the regular lanes of traffic. Stubbornly arriving at your destination, learning a few shortcuts and having pride in the fact that it took a lot longer but ‘you did it’, or, you can invest a little time in some help and get there in the fast lane. The choice is yours. There is a saying ‘It’s the journey, not the destination…’ which I whole-heartedly agree with. I don’t think it means the journey has to be a beating though. I think you can enjoy the journey AND the destination! Sometimes that means investing in some outside help that can be the voice of reason, the sounding board, the guide, the counselor, the strategist, and even the friend to get you on down the road.
Growth in anything in our universe is generally the process of building, rebuilding, redirecting, and pushing. Examine your why, take a little inventory, and then get some help. It is a constant battle to keep things on track and moving.