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.
6. Choose a few critical objectives that will give you an 80% chance of hitting your revenue target. Avoid brainstorming as the way of setting priorities; if an action cannot be directly aligned with generating revenue from your loyal customer base, don't chase it!
7. Eliminate the CRAP that isn't directly related to achieving your growth strategy. Projects and activities that may have been relevant in some other scenario but not now need to be abandoned in order to make room for the new things that must be done. Stand-out leaders are effective at not only taking on new stuff, but also at stopping the activity no longer needed to fuel revenue growth.
8. Measure progress every month. Set revenue objectives for each month of your 24-month plan and monitor your success rate. Take action on any shortfalls you experience. Tweak your strategy as you learn from execution success and failure.
Business growth doesn't happen by serendipity; rather it's the result of discipline and perseverance.
And it doesn't happen overnight; it is the cumulative result of effort applied over time.
There is no easy way to grow. It's hard and often painful.
Are you up for it?
NEVER has it been more important to carve out a distinctive and unique place for your organization (and yourself) in the market than it is today. If you're not different you're dead (or soon will be).
Visit Roy's site http://www.bedifferentorbedead.com for tools that will help you on your journey to BE DiFFERENT. Learn more about his BE DiFFERENT OR BE DEAD book Series, subscribe to his Blog and take the BE DiFFERENT Quiz to find out if you're different (or dead).
By Roy Osing