Growing a business is a risky business. In fact there are more risks associated with growing a business than there are with starting a business. And so business owners must direct all their talents and energies to the single purpose of building a bigger business. You must focus on these key strategies.
Develop a Strategic Growth Plan
An Angus Reid poll conducted for the Royal Bank discovered the startling fact that 6 out of every 10 small and medium sized companies do no not have formal business growth plans. This despite the fact that trying to grow your business without a plan is a bit like wandering the desert without a compass; you just go round and round and round.
The Strategic Plan becomes your road map. It identifies your measurable 3 to 5 year growth objectives and links them to 1 year strategies and actions. You can track your growth on a day by day, week by week and month by month basis. This is a powerful tool because it keeps you on track.
Depending on how aggressively you want to grow your business you must devote from one to three days per week to plan and to manage your company’s growth. Start small; find 45 minutes each day for growth activities and block off that time in your calendar. This will give you half a day per week! Delegate some of your work. Delegation is not easy for entrepreneurs and it takes a lot of time up front but frees up your valuable time down the road to grow your business.
Manage the money stuff
Growth needs money; in fact growth devours money! You may need a new web site. You may need to develop new products. You may need to hire someone before the revenue comes in to cover their costs. The expenses will initially increase faster than the revenues.
Develop monthly projections of revenue and operating expenses. Make sure you have included all growth costs. Then convert the budget into monthly cash flow projections. For example, if your budget shows April revenue of $10,000 you probably won’t receive that money until May or possibly June. Your cash flow projection provides the financial road map to monitor and manage your money as the growth progresses.
Raise the Expertise Ceiling
You have an expertise ceiling. This is the ceiling that you hit when your company reaches a size and complexity that is beyond your expertise. Business history is full of stories about successful companies that suddenly flounder when they reach their owners’ Expertise Ceiling. So don’t pretend that this will not happen to you; it will! Find a mentor. Hire an expert.
Lead with an Attitude
“Success is an attitude”write Fisher and Allen in their book How To Think Like A Millionaire. You must really want to grow your business. You must believe in yourself; believe that you can take your business to the next level. And you must believe in the people around you and they will be positive contributors to the business growth. If you have the right attitude your team will feel it; they will know that they are going to be part of a wonderful success story.
Urgent Versus Important
Taking the phone call from an angry customer is urgent. Carefully mapping out the future of your business is important. Which has priority? You must be the judge but never lose site of the fact that your business will not achieve successful growth if you do not devote all of your talents and energies to the single purpose of building a bigger business; i.e. on the important activities.
So don’t wait for a miracle to take your company to the next level. As Peter Drucker wrote; “Miracles are great but they are so unpredictable”.