When you’re running a business, growth is something that will inevitably be on your mind. It’s treated as the primary ambition of all businesses, and it is indeed something you need to actively consider – but is it always the right to do?
Today we’re taking a look at the issues so you can confidently answer the question ‘Do you need to grow your business?’.
Types of Growth
There are lots of different types of growth – growth models – that you can pursue for your business, but not all are suitable for every business type and industry. Many startups follow a specific funding model that detaches success away from profit and measures it entirely by growth (or in the parlance of the startup, scaling), achieved through successive, ever larger funding rounds.
That’s a very compatible model for some businesses and ambitions, but antithetical to others. Indeed, many startups eventually balance the books via acquisition, where their brand and the tech they’ve developed are bought out by a much deeper pocketed, mature company. If you don’t want to cede control like that – possibly returning to square one to develop a new idea – then this isn’t the model for you.
Look at the types of growth available to you, and think about how they fit with your ambitions. Growing slowly, paying your own way more and subsidising expansion with business loans from a bank is slower than courting investors but it is more stable and means you don’t cede any decision-making power to people looking for a fast return. Growing your business in a way that resembles success superficially but doesn’t build a business you want to be running is counterproductive!
Good and Bad Opportunities
You’re going to encounter a lot of opportunities to grow your business, but they’re not all equal. You need to recognise what are good and bad opportunities for you, for the business you’re building and your ambitions if you’re going to make the decisions you need.
One of the ways to guide you through these decisions is your brand. Your brand is not just advertising or a logo, your brand is the identity you’re creating for your business so customers can relate to it on an emotional, personal level. Everything you do should feed into growing a consistent brand – if you don’t bear this in mind you could make decisions that undermine it and that make your business harder to market, and harder for both customers and investors to understand as a tempting prospect.
Adding new products to your inventory simply because they’re available, not because they complement your existing range complicates your brand and might undermine it. Similarly, opening new branches in the wrong parts of town or even sales or price points that are tuned in the wrong way can undo the work you’ve done to create a comprehensible image for your company. Hewing closer to the values you’ve instilled in your business (or that customers see in it – market research can help here) is a good guide to the growth opportunities that will work for you in the long term.
If you’re looking for help navigating this complex world, and growing your business in a way that compliments your ambitions and preferences, then it is available! Growth consulting is a specialism that helps you find the strategies to help you grow your business in the right way and at the time for the success you seek.