Consider this question: “What is business growth?”
It is a question I often ask in workshops and when I present to audiences of business owners. It's amazing the range of answers I get to that question. So much so that, in fact, there are too many answers to list here!
Yet, as business owners, we are mostly lulled into a belief that business growth is solely about revenue and business value (becoming the next Google or Facebook for example). To the extent that there is a palpable push back when I start talking business growth with most small business owners.
And rightly so, because I too frequently hear the cry, “If I want to double my revenue I will have to work twice as hard! I’m already working 50-60 hours a week! No thanks!”
…for those who almost stopped reading at that point, be assured I know that purely focusing on revenue is NOT the only answer, so read on…
“Business growth is merely a measure of choice.”
Read that sentence again. "Business growth is merely a measure of choice."
It took me many years in business to understand what that sentence means. In business, I had to have a number of health episodes and some seriously stressful periods of time in order to be open enough to fully embrace that statement.
I will ask the opening question again, with a slight difference now: “What is business growth to you?”
Consider your answers, when you continue reading this article.
Definition of growth
Let’s start by defining growth.
The dictionary defines growth as - ‘progressive development (evolution)’ or ‘an increase, expansion or development’.
There are some clear synergies with revenue and asset (business value) growth, of course. Yet there are also some incredible facets of growth we miss as a result of focussing too heavily on ‘just’ revenue or asset growth.
We will not be able to cover every single aspect of growth in one small article, so I will endeavour to share the key categories.
Now let's explore the terms ‘development’ and ‘expansion’.
When we apply the word expansion (or expansive) to a business, we make a strong assumption that there is potential to expand and somewhere to expand into.
The term development, implies some form of growth beyond tangible measures. It embodies growth in potential.
It also implies an understanding of an existing level of skill or experience, which can be measurably improved or grown to the benefit of the business.
Using these qualifiers, we can see that growth can also be in:
- Working ON the business, not IN it
- Competency (skill growth)
- Capability (growth in ability)
- Cultural systems
- Interpersonal skills
- Paperwork or financial processes
- Financial benchmarks and key performance indicators
- Work life balance
- Stress reduction (I know this is a double negative, but you get my point)
- …and the list goes on
Observe the main reasons people decide to become business owners (wealth, work life balance, reduced stress, freedom, choice and happiness). We also should consider that people make different choices about what they want to ‘grow’ in their businesses.
Thus, we can see that a one-dimensional choice to just grow revenue (clients, income or marketing) will not always address the true aspirations of the owner. Nor will it enable growth beyond the capacity of the business. (Try building a skyscraper on the foundations of a two-story house!)
In fact, attempting to grow beyond the capacity of the business system, will inevitably end in contraction, decline or worse! The dynamics of this will be discussed in an upcoming future article.
I regularly meet business owners who are perfectly happy with their level of income or size of business. They often seek growth in work life balance, health, stress or other area of their business which resolves a current imbalance.
Growth should come in the guise of what works for YOU and your business. Also, what you need and when you need it.
So, what was your answer to the question?
“What is business growth to you?”
Get the right support, someone who understands balanced growth
Consider your answer when you are looking for someone to support you in your business, to help you grow. Make sure that they have the ability and experience to support you in every area (not just revenue) and that they understand what YOU want from YOUR business.
Consider also, that what you want will also change from time to time, so make sure they are right person for you and your business as you grow. What gets you to a certain point is not always the right thing to get you to the next.
“Business growth is merely a measure of choice”.
So, what is your current choice?
Grow the right things inside your business at the right time and it will fly. Giving you exactly what you want and desire, without all the stress.
At Pink Bamboo Business Growth, we do not use a ‘cookie cutter’ approach when we partner with our clients. Every solution is tailor-made to fit their unique business challenges. Because our clients success is our success.