How to develop a business growth strategy

Transforming a business, and the people –  from the way they do things and always have, isn’t easy and there’s no list to follow.

I started out talking to people at the company, whether it was the business I work for, or at the non profit I volunteer for. Both were the same, some eager for change and plenty of ideas to carry through, but not the mechanisms or the culture to move forward to enable this. Bit like swimming through soup.

You can visualise that growth resembles a ladder, where lower-level rungs present less risk but maybe less quick-growth impact. A start up or small business could focus on these lowest rungs and move up, or take some major jumps and skip a few.

If you’ve done the latter, you’re in RAPID GROWTH, a bit like when you’ve taken the ride on the rollercoaster and regretted it instantly. Thinking why did I do that. As you get through each downward turn and up again, the same phases happen in growth; reluctance, disappointment, possibly failure, learning from the mistakes and rising again. However taking the quick growth exit, means that there’s stuff you could possibly miss on the way and get wrong. You may lose people that don’t want to be on that journey with you. It will test your leadership to the full, and the person who needs to change the most is the business owner and founder. Their change drives the bus, without it you’re in a wheel-spin and going off the tracks into a downhill cycle of the past of that business and organisation.

Other strategies are to look at your culture, products, services and different ways of working with your clients; listening to their needs.

Growth strategies I’ve worked with, have been from goal setting, business planning, culture changes, organic shifts in business climate driving changes. They can vary from intensive growth, integrative growth and diversification.

Intensive growth

Making major changes in your growth, by adjusting how your business looks, it’s goals, people and in essence your ultimate goal and how to get there. Once you make those decisions, it’s all about staying on the journey and sticking to your intensive growth plan.

Integrative growth

This is through acquisition, not to be taken on lightly, as culture and services may not always integrate well. Partnerships can be another way to help your growth and drive further collaboration for the good of your clients.

Diversification

A change is as good as a rest. This will work where you have investment to make, diversify, buy up some other businesses or unleash your creativity and build another business or product that’s completely different from what you do now.

The fear of making a shift or change can hold businesses and organisations back, pondering or developing your growth strategy for a year results in slower execution. The key is to start now.

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