In the past we have talked about execution being an important ingredient to business success and that certainly applies to businesses with strong growth ambitions. But execution isn’t everything, it needs to be matched with a strong and realistic growth strategy and plan. One without the other prejudices the probability of success.
Statistics around achieving growth objectives and profitability can be a hard read with success rates as low as 20%. Why is it so elusive? Sometimes it’s because people underestimate the opportunities within the business or are unable to resource up to execute on opportunities that exist.
So what can be done about this?
- Business owners and managers should review the operations of their core business, whether that be products, services, locations or customers that generate the greatest level of revenue and profit. They need to assess trends associated with these to determine what is going well, what is not, and understand what is impacting that change.
- For a business to sustain long-term growth, you need to understand what sets you apart from your competition. Why are customers come to you? What makes you different and credible?
- You got into business to solve a problem for a certain audience. Who are we talking about? Identify your ideal customer, and don’t lose sight of this audience as you adjust business to stimulate growth.
- You need to be able to measure the changes you make otherwise you have no way of knowing whether it’s effective. Identify which key indicators affect the growth of your business, then dedicate time and money to those areas.
- You can always learn a lot from your competitors, no matter what industry you operate in. Your competition is probably excelling at something that your company is struggling with. Observe, assess and understand what that is and whether this is something that should be incorporated into your growth strategy. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
- In most small to medium sized businesses, your employees often have direct contact with your customers, so you need to hire people who are motivated and inspired by your company’s value proposition. Hire few employees, but look after them well and the best ones will usually stick around.
Through all of this there is a theme of staying focused, continual review and refinement, understanding your market and what’s happening in it, and if change is required within your business to achieve your growth objectives, plan well and resource up to take full advantage of the opportunities that come your way.