New business owners have numerous goals when they're starting out, including rapid growth and recognition for their fledgling venture. But overnight success isn't often the standard: There's no specific "special sauce" to add to the recipe for instant results, and nothing is guaranteed.
However, there are ways to reach growth milestones that can catapult a business to success.
Growing a business face’s, a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might not be the best approach. All too often, avoidable mistakes turn what could have been a great business into a nightmare.
Recognizing and overcoming the common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive. Every business owner needs to ensure that the steps you take today don’t themselves create additional problems for the future.
Effective leadership will help you make the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future.
The plan that made sense for you a year ago isn’t necessarily right for you now. Market conditions continually change, so you need to revisit and update your strategic plan regularly. As your business grows, your strategy needs to evolve to suit your changed circumstances. For example, your focus is likely to change from winning new customers to building profitable relationships and maximizing growth with existing customers. Existing business relationships often have greater potential for profit and can also provide reliable cash flow. Always take advantage of potential clients your existing customers may be able to refer to you. When was the last time you met with your clients to discuss how you might be able to refer to each other? This should be done on a regular basis. All things in business can and will frequently change. I think you will find that many of your best referrals will come from your contacts and current clients.
At the same time, every business needs to be alert to new opportunities. There are obvious risks to relying solely on existing customers. Diversifying your customer base spreads those risks.
Following the same business model, but bigger, is not the only route to growth. There are other strategic options such as outsourcing or franchising that might provide better growth opportunities.
It’s important not to assume that your current success means that you will automatically be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Every major move need’s planning in the same way as a new business launch.
Watch out for being too opportunistic – ask yourself whether new ideas suit your strengths and your overall vision of where the vision is going. Bear in mind that every new development brings with it changing risks. It’s worth regularly reviewing the risks you face and developing contingency plans.
I am a big believer in strategic planning. Too many leaders “have it in their head”. I strongly urge you if you do not do annual strategic planning, start planning now for 2019. It has been clearly documented and proven that those that plan and have it on paper with metrics, timelines, financial support and the right people have a much greater success than those that don’t. So, if you don’t have it on paper, let’s talk.
The Skylight Group