Making a profit – a primary goal of every business owner but the path taken by each business can vary significantly. In last month’s article “Avoid the Cash Flow Squeeze”, I wrote about how managing your cash flow will keep more cash in your pocket so you can hire, outsource, buy more inventory and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Growing your business is another way boost the cash in your pocket. Most entrepreneurs begin as a one person show – they are responsible for operations, financial management, product/service development and delivery, sales and marketing, strategic planning and more! When you want to grow your business from a one-person enterprise to a business with a team you face the challenge of delegating to others. Another challenge you can face is switching your business model so you leverage your time — which means you must stop the exchange of time for money (i.e. paid per hour) and start generating sales while you sleep or spend time with your children. Although challenges, they also offer fabulous opportunities!
What Does Business Growth Look Like to You?
How clear are you on where you want your business go be? Growing your business can happen when you are clear about what is what it is you want to achieve. I have worked with clients who have entered new markets, created new product lines to fill existing gaps, or increased their market share within the same customer group. You can buy out your competition, or create a joint venture so you can supply larger customer groups than you could accomplish on your own.
The process of business growth starts with knowing exactly where you are now, and who your ideal customer is. Next you have to identify what you want to do in the future and for whom. Are you crystal clear on where your business should grow?
How will you grow your business?
Your strategic plan is a great place to start. A strategy session with a business coach or a retreat with business advisors offers focused time to set the stage for future growth and it will help you strengthen your strategic plan. I recommend you set aside time every year to focus on your own business strategy. I get away from the office for 2 days every year – either working with a Coach, business leader or mentor, to strategize my future. What do you do?
Your strategic plan must include realistic actionable steps that you will take to reach your vision. The clearer you are and the better you plan, the more likely your business growth will be successful.
Part of your planning process is to research and investigate what your customers want, what the competition is doing, & where gaps are in the market etc. A strong strategic growth plan will also highlight where you have weaknesses in your current business. Recognize your own short-comings and the obstacles you face and create the plan to oversome or minimize these issues so they don’t derail your growth strategies.
Learn to Think and Act Big!
Do you think big? Do you Act big? This can be a tough obstacle for many entrepreneurs – and requires a mindset shift. You probably created your business because it was something you love to do. The thought stepping back from day-to-day work and taking on a more strategic and leadership role can leave many entrepreneurs holding back. Growing your business requires you to learn to delegate and outsource tasks and some responsibilities. As a parent, it is not dissimilar to stepping back and allowing your child to grow and become more independent. Delegating doesn’t mean abdicating… you still have to lead your business during the growth phase.
Get Support along the Way!
Entrepreneurship allows you to be in business for yourself but you shouldn’t be in it ‘by yourself’. Family and friend offer one type of support but it may not be enough. As you grow your business, consider connecting with a board of advisers within a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a group of highly motivated business leaders who meet regularly to discuss business opportunities, challenges and to share. The benefit is derived by bringing together the knowledge, skill, ideas, feedback and support of many minds all focused on collective success of each group member.