What is the one thing small business owners are ALWAYS manifesting?
Business growth – in profits & revenue, team members, operations & systems, client acquisitions & retention, etc.
As a small business owner, each business decision – be it small or big contributes towards your business growth. When your business reaches a point where it requires more paths to scale and generate profits – you can not function efficiently without laying down a strategic roadmap that helps you achieve the business milestones that you desire.
What is a Business Growth Strategy?
A business growth strategy is a framework that allows a business to expand by having a plan for overcoming current and future challenges. A growth strategy drives a series of big decisions that influence the execution of other plans in your business.
Let’s talk about why in the world you need to have a growth strategy in the first place. If you just need to do the work, and focus on making money only, shouldn’t there be SEVERAL businesses growing right now?
According to Small Business Administration, there are 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S as of 2022. Out of which a whopping 42% of businesses fail in their first year. Because they, like many of us, prioritize working IN their business rather than ON it.
The reason is either they don’t have a growth strategy or they fail to make an effective one.
Let’s look at 3 extremely crucial questions to ask yourself when you are making an effective growth strategy for your business.
Question 1. What are my goals & objectives?
Question 2. Am I prepared to accommodate the goals I have?
Question 3. Are my operations & systems efficiently optimized?
Let’s deep dive into all of them one by one.
Question 1. What Are My Goals & Objectives?
If you don’t have a vision, you don’t have a destination. And seeing as your business is the vehicle to get you to that vision, it’s imperative you are clear on WHAT it is, and HOW to communicate it, to have a sound business.
Now, I don’t want to hear you tell me that your goal is to sell a ton of products or services and make a ton of money only – I think that’s well-established. A foundational goal for any small business is to generate revenue. However, when it comes to small business growth, the reason you even built this business, sales are only a small piece of the puzzle.
Think along the lines of
Generating brand awareness to develop more trust,
Increasing your reach to fall in front of more eyes,
Having a deep understanding of your ideal buyer journey,
Smoothening back-end operations for stress-free day-to-day business management,
Providing the best customer experience,
Delegating tasks responsibly to efficient employees to free up more time.
Funding a lifestyle and legacy you envision for yourself and your family
Your business growth strategy should align yourself with these goals to help you scale your business sustainably and profitably.
Question 2. Am I Prepared to Accommodate the Goals I have?
Did you know one of the biggest reasons businesses don’t reach their goals, is because they didn’t have the right resources and processes in place to accommodate for them?
Once the destination is in place, you need to check whether you are completely equipped to provide the solution to your clients.
Your business growth strategy should comprise of all the pieces that you need to reach the goals you have determined above – the right process, the team to accommodate capacity, the tools to perform quality work, etc.
Your business growth strategy should also be based on the foundations of building ongoing activities for your business that produce repetitive and long-term outputs with smooth day-to-day operations that are cost-effective, and well-timed as well as maintaining critical quality standards.
Because once you reach the goal, you want to SUSTAIN it.
This might look like considering the following:
Capacity planning – Evaluating the number of products or services or offer your business can sell or distribute in a particular period.
Product design/service design – Generating new ideas and creating a service or product to ensure that the products sold/ services can both meet the needs of your customers consistently, regardless if there is an increase in clientele. You need to consider the cost-efficiency of a product while ensuring that it meets the needs of customers.
Quality control – Quality management or quality assurance. It deals with monitoring services or products through each step in the production process or service operations for probable issues or errors or the support that you provide them that guarantees exemplary customer service.
Process improvement and optimization – Evaluating the steps involved in a process and updating it to better align with your goals, maximize efficacy and setting up a repeatable system for success.
If you have a certain pace in mind to grow your business, you should be able to achieve that with the right resources, systems, people, strategy, and processes.
Question 3. Are My Operations & Systems Efficiently Optimized?
Think of operations as the backbone of your business.
Operations are the work of managing the daily activities in your business so it runs efficiently. This can help streamline costs, allowing you to do more with less and scale your small business. Whether you make products or provide services, every small business owner has to manage the behind-the-scenes work and operations to help you do exactly that.
As a small business owner, most of the time, you are running the ship on your own. Therefore, the need to be aware of whether your energy, expertise, and time are going into the growth of the business (like the authority and income generating tasks) or in daily operation running is extremely crucial.
Your business growth strategy might look great on paper but the day-to-day execution will rely strongly on how efficient your operations and systems are. Here are a few questions that can help you determine an operational strategy for your business:
How is the product or service delivered to the customer?
What processes are necessary to make that final conversion?
What resources, tools, and equipment need to be in place for those processes to work?
Who is involved, directly and indirectly, with the conversion and delivery to the customer?
How many of those people are needed, in various roles, for processes to work flawlessly, and to meet the minimum expectations of the customer?
What tools, software, and automation are required to have your business set up for success?
Answering these questions will give you a clear picture of how you frame a growth strategy to amp up your business.
While all three questions are important, operations are the core activities that keep your company running and able to compete and scale.
Growth at all costs can bring you short term success, but in the long run can cripple your business. You’ve worked hard to build this business; the last thing you want to do is be one client, one set back, one sick day blow it all to the ground because there were no supports in place!
If you need to determine whether your business operations are efficient enough to support your business strategy, take my Ops quiz here. It not only helps evaluate your current business operations, it gives you the immediate next steps of what to implement in order to build support for the growth you are hoping to achieve.
I live in Melbourne, Australia, but I’m from the States (Washingtonian through and through). I’m a cat-mom, wifey, and in love with a good workflow; it gives me that warm, fuzzy, Christmastime feeling. My goal is to help hard-working service providers stop having to choose between creativity and productivity to build a successful, sustainable business.