Real growth compounds year after year and always builds upon what has gone before. No effort is wasted and everything, failures and successes, are invested in stepping the business closer to its customers and further away from its competitors. For there to be real growth, you need to possess a clear image of what it is you are building. Real growth is not simply represented by increased sales, it is represented by a growth in the capital value drivers that generate those sales.
What Are You Building?
Often business growth is assumed and lies in a short-term focus on growing sales and profit, and seeking to simply do more of the same. But growth comes in many shapes and sizes and you must determine what it is you are seeking to grow. This is often tied to where you are in the lifecycle of your business and what is happening in your markets, but can commonly include:
- Expanding your product range.
- Winning more customers.
- Expanding your territory.
- Improving your margins.
- Growing your bottom line.
- Reducing your costs.
- Investing in capability for the future.
- Improving your lifestyle as an owner.
- Acquiring a complementary business.
- Forming an alliance.
These are all valid forms of growth and I am sure you can think of many others. Whether these are the right strategies for you depends on what you are seeking to achieve.
Answer the what and why of growth first and then answer the how. The points above are growth strategies – the hows to achieving growth.
They are not the what or why. The what of growth lies in the type of business you are seeking to build and will come from the purpose for which your business exists. The why will come from the competitive posture you have developed to deliver on your purpose.
Capital value is the ability of your business to deliver an enduring profit. When you think of growth you must link it to building the capital value of your business and identifying the drivers of that value. Don’t just think of today or this month’s sales, think about what you are doing to build your capital value drivers, that is, the ability of your business to deliver an enduring profit. To ensure that every effort you put into your business is compounding and building the strength (capital value) of your business, you must have a focus and a foundation (purpose) to your business and organisation.