How to achieve or rekindle growth is a hot topic amongst many entrepreneurs, consultants and academics alike. Many consider that the macro-economic conditions are the main reason for business stagnation. But is this the real cause of concern?
A number of SMEs we see share a wish to grow their business but have hit what runners would refer to as ‘the wall’ – a sudden loss of energy and drive that can cause you to stop what you are doing. To prevent this we are sharing with you some of the most common barriers to business growth that our clients have experienced in recent months.
Growth comes from your customers; hence if you do not sell more, your company will not grow.
You need to acquire new customers but the most efficient form of growth will be from your existing customers. Hence always look for the ‘low hanging fruit’ first by providing your products and services better than the nearest competitors and ensure your differentiate your offering by something as simple as superior customer service.
Simply put, growth requires finance and as always in business, cash goes out before it comes back in. Hence the first thing to do is….plan.
How much money do you need?
Do you prepare a cash flow forecast?
Do you compare actual results to budget and re-forecast the cash flow?
The cash flow will tell you two very important things; how much extra funding you need and crucially when you will need it. Always consider headroom – how much you have left and ensure that you always have enough to cover the ‘what ifs’.
The first task is to acknowledge that you cannot do everything yourself and therefore you cannot grow your business without the help of other people.
Many entrepreneurs have this recurring problem of not having the right people in the right place at the right time and therefore become bogged down in the day-to-day fire fight of running a business.
Again, planning and delegation can reduce this problem, hence carefully define and communicate ‘what’ to do, but ensure that you leave the ‘how’ to do it to the managers.
Having created the business are you still running it and not delegating the management of it to others?
Do you strive to manage and not lead?
Are you actively planning the growth of your business and devoting your own time and effort to this?
Do you know where your resources should be used?
Can you delegate the management of these resources to others to therefore free up time of you own?
These are just some of the questions we ask of entrepreneurs in order to understand how they run their businesses and therefore are questions that you should ask of yourself. If you wonder how you can answer these, then start simply by devoting 30 minutes each day to kick-start your growth plan and activities.