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Business growth doesn’t come from a lightbulb moment

Thursday, March 06, 2014   By Mike Reddy


If only it were true that our best ideas for sustainable business growth would appear in the form of the proverbial light bulb moment.

A flash of genius in complete clarity.

The reality is, of course, something very different. The best business decisions come from careful consideration and can take a while to come to fruition - much to the chagrin of most business owners.

They say that if your business is not growing then it must be dying.

I might suggest that if you are hanging your hat (and your chances of success in the future) on past glories rather than continuing to search for new opportunities then the odds of longevity are against you.

Business growth needs to be sustainable and it needs to occur at the right pace.

Suffice to say you can only start that process of growth when you are ready. So how do you tell?

Taking a lead from nature, trees take time and the right conditions in order to form strong roots allowing them to grow to an impressive size. I tend to use the same philosophy as a business coach.

So an obvious question to ask yourself is, "How strong are your roots"?

They need to be able to support the additional weight which comes with growth so it stands to reason that you need a solid base to succeed during the growth phase.

The catalyst for growth can come from a number of areas but there are probably three key areas that I have observed as a business coach.

They include strong and sustained revenue growth, customer requests and the business' performance flat-lining - that is to say results are stagnant.

Other areas which can bring about a need for growth include:

  • When your business is looking at tapping into new markets

  • Leads are increasing in number with no corresponding increase in marketing

  • Strong demand is causing stress on the business' ability to provide the service and support expected by the customer

  • There are signs of falling product quality

Chances are your business coach or accountant would have identified these symptoms in a review of your business. It's vital to address them as, although increasing numbers might cause a degree of excitement, they can actually be the beginning of the end.

It's one of the reasons why advisors talk about the need for a coordinated strategy in order to set the wheels in motion and ensuring the funds are in place.

There is nothing that will eat up your funds as fast as a growing business. Despite what business owners think, growth can rarely be funded from the normal operations of the business. And nor should it be.

With regard to small business growth the coaching process will usually focus on this criteria:

  • Discovery - Remember to attend relevant events and stay in touch with both your business community and the general market place so you can be on top of any opportunities. The most successful business owners are the ones who commit to a constant search.

  • Objectivity - always ensure your goals and expectations are rooted in reality.

  • Connecting the dots - the buzzword that coaches and advisors use is "integration". It's important to integrate your various strategies - whether they be marketing, product or people strategies-in order to improve your chance of success. Don't believe that marketing on its own is the solution.

  • Sustainability - business growth has to be sustained and that requires commitment and discipline and both of those require sustained and focused effort.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.