Growing a Business – An overview of the challenge ahead
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin
Ask any business owner what their view of Business Growth is, and you will receive as many answers as there are days of the week. Anything from enhanced productivity to higher turnover, and from increased profit to taking on more staff.
Of course, they are all technically correct, but merely serve to illustrate that business growth strategies truly need to be bespoke to be relevant to your specific business.
In this Business Growth section of the Yorkshire Powerhouse, we will be examining in more detail how businesses can utilise various tips, tricks and techniques to identify a growth strategy that is relevant to them, how to implement it and how to monitor its effect, as well as ensuring that it positively impacts their bottom line.
But, first of all, in order to consider what the right strategy is for your business, your product or service, your sector and your client or customer base, you need to decide what result you want from growing your business.
- Do you want it to be a “lifestyle” business, which simply funds your day-to-day needs and wants?
- Do you want to grow it to form a legacy that you can pass on to your children?
- Do you want to grow the business so that you can sell it for profit after a specific period of time?
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Regardless of how you see your business growing, any development will bring certain challenges. The wise solution to these is to combine strategic business guidance (coaching, mentoring, non-executive support, etc) with specific service outsourcing solutions (credit control, accounting and HR functions, as well as potential finance, investment, design and strategic business support).
Growing your business with a strategic plan
Whatever your end goal, each of these differing scenarios requires you to put in place a viable Business Plan. And, while there are a myriad of differing styles of business planning templates available to download from the Internet (and from Yorkshire Powerhouse, of course), they all have a few things in common:
Firstly, they should contain an executive summary of your business, its product or service, its market and its aims. Counter-intuitively, you would normally write this section at the end of drafting the plan, even though it would ordinarily appear at the start of the document.
Next, there would be comprehensive sections covering your Operational (including staffing models, their associated costs and flexibility), Financial and Sales/Marketing details and functions.
Subsequent articles will consider these sections in more detail but, in essence, together they should provide a roadmap to help your business to navigate from where it currently is to where you see it being, over the next twelve months, three and potentially even five years.
The plan for growing your business that you come up with should be used as a steadying guide, enabling you to plot a course through the ups and (inevitable) downs of running and growing your business. And remember, because there will be external circumstances that will affect your business, and over which you have no direct control, your business plan should be revisited and revised where necessary, and on a regular basis.
And don’t forget, both “business growth” and “business success” mean different things to different people, so your business strategy should be something that remains definable, achievable and measurable.
So, in summary, every business, no matter its starting point, should have a comprehensive, workable, practical business plan. This will help you clarify your thinking, as well as providing an effective guide to help you navigate your business to the point that you have defined as “business growth”.
Well-designed growing business models add sales before they add costs, not the reverse. Seek help and advice from marketing and business experts who can demonstrate their abilities, contribute to your growth and support your needs.