I know as an experienced Business Coach that many business owners aim for growth in their businesses. As with anything you do in business, you want to approach the matter in a sensible, planned and strategic way in order to most likely succeed.
Below are some of my tips and advice to help you in growing your business.
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Know your why
Be clear to yourself why you are wanting to grow? Is it about a legacy, a shortfall in the marketplace, increased income or something else? There is nothing wrong with wanting more money, or perhaps to ‘make a name for yourself’ but be clear about your why. I know many people go into business wanting money and flexibility, only to discover that often doesn’t occur straight away.
Next, you should ask yourself IF you should grow. Just because you can, might not mean you should. Perhaps you’re overstretched for time, or have health issues, or are at a stage in your life you have other things to focus on.
What type of growth are you considering?
There are a multitude of ways a business can grow, including:
- More of the same business; purely increasing volume of what you do/have now
- Expansion of your operations into other geographical areas or branches
- Exporting your products
- Expanding the products or services that you offer to include new offerings
- Going online
- A buy in, takeover or purchase of a similar or same business
- Franchising or licensing
- Innovation which may lead to something new and unique.
Analyse your business now – are you ready?
I’m often asked by clients about business growth, but I know in their business at present, things are not working optimally. My advice is always to get things working well now, before you start growing. Otherwise, you’ll just be growing and duplicating your problems. So in this way, you need to assess your business and particularly:
- Do you have the resources – money, people, equipment or infrastructure for growth?
- Are you all over the money side of your business now, as it is?
- Has your business already shown consistent improvement? Why has this happened?
- Do you have processes and procedures in place which can be updated to include this activity?
- Are your team on board? If you need your team behind you, and they are not, you’re fighting a lonely battle which is likely to be sabotaged (intentionally or unintentionally)
- Are things working as well as they possibly can now, before you take on more?
- Do you yourself have the time, energy and passion to action this growth?
- Will you (or the person who is going to spearhead this growth) stick at it to make it happen?
Do your analysis
Now, may I say first, if you’ve a very innovative and clever idea and you’re asking for advice, help or even just ‘spit balling ideas’ be sure that you gain confidentiality statements from people before you share. Be clear to anyone involved that this matter is highly confidential and should not be shared.
With any new idea, I like to first run a pros and cons list to actioning the new idea. I also love doing a SWOT analysis on the idea. You should also do your due diligence. For example, is the market saturated, or perhaps it’s a hard industry or area to crack. If you’re considering a new geographical area, do you know the area, their needs and wants? What works brilliantly in Sydney might not work in a different capital city. What works in a capital city may not work in a remote region. Do competitor analysis. If buying a business, then of course, the swag of due diligence that goes with that should occur.
Part of your analysis and investigation should be around getting funds if need be, or perhaps if you’re simply looking at internal expansion where you’re simply selling more or making more, then where are the areas for improvement? Do your team need more training, or are your IT systems archaic, slow or ineffective?
Finally, one big question you should consider is: ‘what could go wrong?’ This is in no way trying to scare you out of the proposed growth, but being realistic. Walking in with a good understanding and appreciation of the problems, as well as a plan to manage those potential problems is essential.
Put a plan in place
Here I am talking about more than a business plan (which is a good idea), but more so I’m talking about putting a plan in place in respect of the growth. List what you need to do, in order of when it should happen. Some areas for consideration in your planning will be:
- Getting clarity about what you will be doing and how
- Setup of goals, KPIs and desired results
- Putting budgets and cashflow forecasts in place
- Implementing change management so team are on board and engaged
- Ensuring your clients, prospects or suppliers are communicated with
- Do you have a solid supply chain?
- Is any additional licensing required?
- Do insurances need to be updated?
- Adjusting your branding possibly
- Increasing your marketing, including new marketing specific for this, including flyers and sales resources
- Website creations or updating
- Increasing team numbers, skills or both
- Ensuring sufficient funds and infrastructure
- Growing, creation or set up of the specific product or service
- Are trademarks or patents required?
- Review again of your pricing; is it right with the new structure?
Generally, my recommendation is for gradual growth, which is clear and sustainable. When a business grows very quickly, the owner/s need to be all over everything to ensure everything is on track, particularly around money, systems, delivery and customer service. With growth, some businesses start to let the things slide, which soon start to mount. Most business coaches will assist you with every aspect of growth. We all know two heads are better than one, especially if one of those people is a business growth expert.
Growth can be exceedingly exciting and rewarding if done well.
Donna Stone is a business coach with three decades of experience. She grew her own business from a garage to be a multi-award winning operation that spanned five locations nationally. Donna works with business owners and other business coaches, consultants and trainers to help them build their own success. Her Coach the Coach ™ program has proved exceedingly popular. Donna is a prolific writer with hundreds of articles written and seven books published. Visit: www.donna-stone.com.au