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Can you tell if your business is growing in the right direction?

As a business leader, it can be difficult to tell if the business is growing from its core, or if it’s being influenced by its environment.
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Many will be familiar with the temptation to grab hold of any opportunity which comes your way instead of being strategic in ensuring your business is growing. This can lead to a mass dissemination of energy and resources and losing sight of outlined objectives.

A growing company is one whose business generates significant, positive cash flows or earnings, which increase at faster rates than the overall economy.

So what steps can leaders take to ensure they can keep control when the business is growing, and make sure energy is focused in the right areas?

(1) Vision

Illustrating and implementing the vision for your company, and then leading by example is the cornerstone of any successful business. A consistent, well-thought out vision will bring your employees on board, build trust and loyalty, and help expand your brand and reputation.

However, the key to avoiding your company becoming a sanctuary for monotonous robotic employees, is to simultaneously create an environment which encourages workers to maintain an independent thought process within the boundaries of your vision as the business is growing.

A sure sign that your company’s vision isn’t being executed is if employees are repeatedly asking “what’s next” when you’ve already set their tasks in motion. If this happens, go back to the drawing board, and create a clear statement of purpose that every employee is aware of.

(2) Good management requires good management tools

Ensuring the business is growing stems from insightful decisions that are made when you have up to date and accurate data.

Indeed, business management tools such as ERP, CRM and others, are now considered a necessity for practically all companies, regardless of size or sector. They allow companies to benefit from a real-time integrated view of all their core business processes.

Furthermore, not only does it provide you with visibility and control over your company’s data, it can streamline and improve every aspect of your firm as the business is growing.

Make sure you regularly review your management tools, ensuring they’re up to date, and used across your business. Organisations that implement tools to manage and control their business operations, are already on the journey towards company growth.

(3) Accept that change is good

If your company isn’t growing, it might be time to make a change. The best leaders are those that recognise when growth is slowing, and take the business in new directions before it becomes stagnant and goes into decline.

Change can also be detrimental if it isn’t enforced correctly, so it’s important to pinpoint precisely where modifications need to be made. An easy tactic, is to ask yourself “why is this process done in this way”?

This will prompt you to continuously review and assess existing processes within the company, ensuring that you spot any room for improvement as soon as it appears. Furthermore, growing companies are those that encourage employees and the community to find vulnerabilities in the product, or methods by which the business model could be improved.

For example, a firm called Bugcrowd connects companies such as Pinterest, LastPass and Western Union with hackers who then receive rewards for solving problems. This method allows the companies to constantly ensure they’re at the top of their game as the business is growing.

Listen to what your employees and customers have to say – they’ll often push your company in the right direction.

(4) Trust your human instinct

Corporate decisions need to be based on numbers and fact, but gut feelings are important as well to see that the business is growing.

Business growth happens when machines and rational human thought come together to make the best decisions for the company. When you review how your company operates, consider that a healthy mix between automated and people-managed processes should always be maintained.

While it may be tempting to sideline humans in favour of machines, there needs to be an understanding that in many instances, the “human touch” is required even when there’s an automated solution in place.

There is no single, right way, to grow your company in the right direction, but with a clear vision, good management tools, continuous reviews of your processes, and a feeling of community, you will be well on your way.

Andres Richter is CEO at Priority Software

Image: Shutterstock

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As the champion of UK enterprise for 20 years, Real Business is the most-read SME website dedicated to high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. Through daily news, unique insight and invaluable guides we are an essential resource for thriving businesses.

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