While each business growth story will be different, there some proven guiding principles that can smooth the journey and build the strong foundations to sustain success.
Our personal experience of guiding hundreds of businesses through growth, backed by research insights, demonstrates four essential ingredients. These are: focus, planning, gaining buy-in from internal and external teams, and engaging with the wider business community.
1. Avoid one-size-fits-all growth strategies
You might imagine that business growth is something that only happens for tech and IT firms and young, thrusting startups.
Our latest research, backed by personal experience of guiding businesses through growth programmes, indicates that growth is possible for any business at any stage of development. With such diversity, growth journeys are rarely linear and seldom straightforward.
Your strategy must be personalised to suit your business needs and that requires taking a long and earnest look at your situation.
2. Prepare for bumps in the road
Be prepared for a new set of challenges as soon as you flick that growth switch. Starting along a path to growth will often disturb some of your entrenched business practices and company cultures. It can also have an impact on your relationships with customers and suppliers.
Planning for these disruptions and anticipating problems is crucial to avoiding future headaches. Effective communication down the chain of command will help keep everyone on the same page.
3. Focus and make strategic growth a priority
One of the big challenges can be finding the time to step away from the day-to-day management – to pursue your growth strategy with more purpose. Focus on what’s really important – ignoring the minor issues today in order to capitalise on the big opportunities tomorrow.
Find time in your day to actively consider the direction in which your business is heading and delegate more of the business operation to someone you trust.
4. Take stock of where you are
You can’t plan where you are going without knowing where you are coming from . You should carry out a full and honest audit of your current situation. This includes evaluating your people, your products, your processes, your market and, perhaps most importantly, yourself.
Make sure you get to grips with what works well in your business and what needs improving. It is also helpful to try and distil what it is that makes your business unique. Fully understanding your position is the first step to attainable growth.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Once you have a clear idea about where you are you can begin to sketch out your vision for the future. Don’t be afraid to dream, but always make sure that your vision is realistic and that you know the path to get there.
Crucially, you need to make sure your plans are fully costed and if you require any additional finance you need to be clear on where it will come from.
Read more ways that you can flick the growth switch in your business on page two…
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