9 Ways to Improve Small Business Growth

by Patricia Lotich on January 25, 2010

Have you ever wondered how some business  take off and grow very rapidly in just a few short years and others stay the same for years and years?

Business growth takes strategy and strong leadership.  Some new business owners achieve a certain level of success and begin to sit back and become lax in their drive to push the organization forward.

So How Can We Improve Small Business Growth?

1.      Vision

All organizations should have a  clear and written vision statement, laying out where the organization is going.  If there is no clear vision, it is difficult to figure out how to grow.  Vision gives direction and a view of where the organization is going.

2.      Strategy

Every organization needs strategy and should go through the 5 Step Process of Strategic Planning to develop a specific strategic plan.  Strategic plans need to be updated every few years as market conditions change.   This process helps keep an organization’s vision fresh and moving.

3.      Goals

It is important to have  SMART Goals and accountability for achieving those goals in order to grow an organization.  Goals are what makes a strategic plan happen.  Not having written goals and holding someone accountable for those goals is an invitation for failure and at a minimum will stunt an organization’s growth.

4.      Desire

There needs to be a desire at the top of the organization to grow.  As with anything else, with growth comes pain and some leaders just aren’t comfortable enough with the pain to make the necessary changes to grow. Pain comes in when you need to hire your first employees and begin dealing with Human Resource Management in Small Business.  Other areas of pain are delegating to others and trusting them to do things the way you would do them.

5.      Understand Customer Needs

This is where many organizations get stuck on.   The world is changing at such a fast pace that unless an organization keeps in touch with its customers’ needs and puts systems in place to monitor their needs, someone else will be there to take care of them.  Ensuring customers receive the best Customer Service possible is critical to long term success of any organization.  Face it, customers pay the bills.

6.      Investing Back In the Business

While a small business is growing, it is important to invest profits back into the business.  Organizations that desire to grow need to budget profits back into the organization.  All organizations need to invest in changing technology and facilities.  Having antiquated equipment and facilities can affect an organizations ability to successfully meet customer needs.

7.      Letting Go

The larger an organization becomes the more the founding person needs to let go.  They need to be skilled at developing others, delegating and trusting others to help move the organization forward.  Managing every aspect of a business can be overwhelming once an organization gets to a certain size and the leader’s ability to let it go is critical to this stage of growth.  It is a major decision point that that needs to be considered.

8.      Use, Study and Believe Data

Data should be the driving force in all business decisions.  There are times when business models shift in direction and that is when it is critical to use data before making change.   Decisions made without using data can be catastrophic.  It is important to be aware of market pressures and using the 12 Steps to Implementing a Quality Management System can help identify critical success factors to monitor, track and use to focus goals and improvements.

9.     Have a Process to Address Problems

Let’s face it, every organization has problems and the reality is as soon as one problem gets solved another pops up.  This could be as simple as outgrowing office space, finding new space, planning for new space, planning a move and moving offices.  Growth in and of itself creates problems – even though they are good problems to have. Successful organizations have specific systems and processes in place to address problems.  They are viewed as a normal aspect of business.  With well defined processes and good leadership, there are no problems that can’t be solved.

Having said all of this, I’ve spoken to business owners who were not interested in growing their business because they don’t want to lose  control of the day-to-day operations and didn’t want to endure the growing pains.

Successful organizations have created models, systems and processes to spur growth rather than hamper it.   Those founding leaders must take great pride in seeing their vision come to pass.

Do you have any good examples of this?

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