In our coaching practice, clients tend to come to us when they’re at a fork in the road. Often a few years into their businesses, these entrepreneurs have tried a lot of initiatives, and are looking for support in what to do next. You Inc. member Lisa Bragg has raised an issue that we encounter often: Strategies for Growth. Once your business is out of its infancy and has survived the toddler years, now what?
When we consider strategies for growth, we think about it in two parts: Positioning and Planning.
One of our clients had a meteoric rise, right out of the gate. The business idea was solid and sales were strong. However, when she thought about growing the business further, she got stuck. She was completely mired in administrivia and the day-to-day operations of the company. One of the best strategies for growth is to make sure that you’re positioned for it. Now is the time to ensure that your systems are in place. You want all tasks as automated as possible. Accounting, operations, and customer service are great areas to standardize. You can also think about jobs that are “hand-offable.” What would happen in your company if you no longer did that job? Would someone else be able to do it? One way to mitigate this stress is to start recording all information about your company: job descriptions, supplier lists, daily tasks. Basically you want to develop a company manual so that anyone could step in. Ultimately, you want to be free to work on your company, not in it.
There’s a business plan, and then there’s business planning. We’re big fans of both, and hope to use some of our Fix My Biz space to discuss our love of planning, but here we’re talking about ongoing business planning. One strategy for growth is to constantly be mapping out where you’re headed. We work with our clients to develop 12-month plans, 3-month plans, even 30-day plans. We look at where they want to go, and what they can accomplish given the commitments in their lives outside of work. We break down lofty ambitions into manageable chunks so that big goals become accessible. A plan is like a road map. You need to have one in hand to know where you’re going, and when you’ve arrived.
There is so much more to talk about regarding positioning and planning. Thank you, Lisa Bragg, for opening the dialogue on strategies for growth. We look forward to continuing the conversation.
There are many specific strategies for growth. Some ideas are growth through new products, new markets, and growth through acquisition. We’ll continue to explore these ideas in the weeks to come.
And we’d love to hear your thoughts. What strategies for growth do you use?
About the authors:
Amy and Danielle frequently speak on the topic of entrepreneurship to the media, at seminars and conferences. Both women received MBAs from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. They founded Admiral Road Designs, which they sold in 2013 after more than 11 years. These days, the best friends continue to work together, coaching and consulting to other entrepreneurs via their business, Spark Consulting. Amy and Danielle live in Toronto and have five children, ages 5-10, between them.