Whatever strategies or actions you may be embarking on to grow your business, they must first be anchored in who you are as a business and what you are seeking to build. It’s easy to come up with a list of ways to grow your business, but it’s not so easy to ensure that every step in growth will compound the capital value of your business.
Active Knowledge Question:
Do you have an image, a clear picture, of what you are seeking to build and how your growth plans are building out that image?
Many Ways To Grow
There are many ways and means to grow your business. You may be introducing new products or services, you may be adding in new places – online, physical, communities, connections – or you may be building capabilities. The list could almost be endless.
The starting point to growth is always to ask and answer two questions:
- Why do you want to grow?
- What goal do you want to achieve?
Often growth is sought for growth sake and is defined by size – we want to be bigger, earn more revenue and make more profit. Why? Well, because this is what businesses do.
Profit as an outcome within its own right is weak as a growth strategy. It’s hard to get an entire organisation, and all the people who work within and with it, excited about how much more money (wealth) shareholders and senior management want to and can make. You can use authority to demand compliance and support of growth initiatives centred on profit, but you’re not going to muster the real talent and energy that individuals are capable of so that you can become wealthier.
Profit will always be an outcome of competing well, that is, of ensuring the catalysts that underpin the competitive fitness of a business are at optimal performance. Growth strategies targeting the competitive engine of a business will increase profit as one of the outcomes of competing well.
There is an interesting element of trust/faith in investing in the competitive engine of your business. It’s like an athlete saying to themselves, that ‘every day I must get out of bed early and train and drill repetitively to build my ability to compete. And no matter how good I think I am, I must continue this regiment. And when I step into the competitive arena, my focus must never be on the winning the medal but on what it takes to win, that is my ability to compete and competing to my greatest ability. If I do this, the medals will be there’.
In business, leaders often have no faith in their business’s ability to outcompete others and to win the profits. Rather they manipulate how the business operates, cutting costs etc., to manufacture a profit result. But this focus on the profit numbers will always weaken competitiveness and sooner or later come unstuck and cost more than what was earned. What is a recent global example? Maybe think Boeing and its 737 Max aircraft and how cost-cutting and chasing profit numbers may have contributed to this outcome.
In growth, always ask why do you want to grow and what goal do you want to achieve? And then check your anchor.
In business, you must always have a clear image of, and be able to succinctly state, what are you seeking to build. If you cannot see what you are trying to build, how can you build it?
The answer is always in two parts, what is:
– The reason/purpose for your business’s existence?
– Your vision for your business?
Your purpose provides the foundation, and the vision provides the summit. Your growth strategies and actions are the steps you are taking to reach your summit while staying anchored to your purpose.
If you are the founder of the business or have worked at the coal-face of the business for any period of time, you can usually nail purpose and see the vision clearly. If you are sitting in a boardroom and thinking about it academically, you may struggle to craft words which will have an impact on the business and its people. Purpose and vision come from the heart and from a real empathy with the customer and their needs which the business is seeking to fulfil.
The agents of performance that make up the competitive engine of business include purpose and vision but also other elements such as motive, leadership and culture. All of which set the character of the business and how it will journey towards its vision.
It’s not just what you are building, and where you are heading that is important but also how you will travel that path that will determine the floor and ceiling to success, and if you will and can ever arrive at your destination.
Growth Is A Journey
Growth is always a journey and one which you are orienteering your way along toward the vision for your business.
Expect that along this path that there will be:
- Intended outcomes – those which you planned for.
- Realised outcomes – those which came to life along the way, emerged and were recognised and taken on board.
- Unexpected outcomes – those which you didn’t even realise were occurring until they were there in front of you and quite often cause you to change your entire path.
The framework of orienteering your way toward your summit allows you and your business to accept and take advantage of intended, realised and unexpected outcomes rather than being tied to a preset unchangeable result that may never be achieved.
But whatever emerges along the path of growth, the goal must always be to compound on what has gone before and to build for the future. Failures, new learnings, wins, changes of direction – are all added into what has already been built, and nothing is wasted.
The capital value of your business is reflected in its ability to earn an enduring income which turns only upon your business’s ability to compete and to outcompete all others in its chosen marketplace. Growth is always about building this ability to outcompete so you can create what your imagination sees.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,