Here’s the reality. As a small business you know you are limited terms in terms of resources; undisciplined pursuit of growth will squander your time and money with little to show for your efforts.
Don’t go there.
Here is my 8-step BE DIFFERENT process to grow your business…
1. Set the context for growth by renewing your business strategy. Growth should be a function of what overall direction you want to follow; it should never be pursued by tactics or by chasing possibilities. Chasing will keep you busy but will not feed disciplined growth.
2. Look to organically grow your business as opposed to pursuing more risky strategies such as acquisitions and strategic partnerships. Earn the right to take on more risk by doing your business fundamentals well.
3. Have a specific growth target and make it about top line revenue. Forget about trend line analysis to set your targets. Declare your intent and be OK with not knowing how to get there. Use “I don’t know” to drive innovation and creativity.
4. Establish a short term planning horizon of not more than 24 months. Sustained growth requires an intense focus on execution; consider your plan to be 24 periods of 30 days to be able to successfully respond to unforeseen market events.
5. Be clear on WHO you intend to target to achieve your growth goal. The customers you intend to serve must have the latent potential to deliver your revenue goal. Organic growth is best achieved through the loyal customers you currently serve. Focus on THEM. Trust that with the right value proposition they will do more business with you and “sneeze” you to others.
Beware of “new customer acquisition” strategies. They are expensive in terms of marketing effort and don’t guarantee more loyal customers.