Too many companies conduct end-of-year planning with seemingly no or only minimal interest in growth.
If you were in their conference rooms you’d likely hear very general statements like, “We need to do better than we did last year.” Or you’d watch them put a percentage on next year’s growth because “that’s the percentage we always use,” or worse, because “that’s the percentage that other businesses in our category use.”
What you’d quickly realize is that far too often growth is happenstance, and that companies that grow this way are risking leaving significant profitability on the table. At the end of the next year, the team will certainly be excited about the company’s 10% increase in profit but only because they have no clue it could have been 30% or even more.
After end-of-year planning is complete, the “no focus on growth” situation only gets worse as daily conversation and monthly meeting discussions become more about how the company is doing today rather than how it could be doing tomorrow.
No one is asking: Is now the time for hyper-growth? Not during end-of-year planning and not at any other time.
Yet, “is now the time for serious growth?” is the most valuable question you can ask. Even the standard advice to set realistic growth goals doesn’t provide an excuse for not asking because realistic doesn’t mean low. It means what’s doable for your company. If you haven’t taken a deep look at your potential for growth, there’s no way to know.
Certainly, the choice to grow your company or not depends on your exit strategy. If your plan is to simply close up shop and walk away, you may never need to answer the question about growth. But if you intend to do absolutely anything else with your business upon your exit, you must.
Assuming you fall into the latter category (which I realize the vast majority of my readers do), here’s how I recommend you begin the process of discovering if now is indeed the time for hyper-growth:
#1 Analyze Everything:
- Analyze your company’s current situation (including performing a SWOT analysis which will also assist you with the points of analysis that follow).
- Analyze the market you do business in.
- Analyze your industry and the broader environment/marketplace.
- Analyze your competitors.
#2 Consider Pros & Cons of Growth:
- Practical and factual: , stability factors, customer service concerns, etc.
- Emotional and perceptual: Your mindset, what you’re personally ready for, delegation realities, etc.
#3 Explore Possible Growth Scenarios & Strategies:
- What are all of your options?
- What would those scenarios look like?
- What would be the smartest path forward?
#4 Assess if Your Company is Ready:
- Are you as a leader ready?
- Is your financial function sound?
- Are your operations sound?
Use my Are You Ready for Hyper-Growth? Quick Assessment and Action Planning Guide to assist you in this step.
#5 Address Your Growth Obstacles:
The Quick Assessment will show you what aspects and areas of your company will need to be strengthened before executing your growth strategy. You must address the most critical of these and create a plan for addressing everything not critical but necessary.
#6 Execute & Grow
Once you’ve bridged the gaps in your company’s foundation or are on your way, you’re ready to execute your growth plan.
I can’t stress enough the value of taking steps 1 through 5 regardless of whether or not you decide to grow.
Often, it’s during these initial steps when problems are uncovered that, once resolved, can immediately increase the profitability and sustainability of a company.
Additionally, you’ll have the advantage of understanding your business, industry and marketplace at a whole new level. This can only serve to make you a stronger leader and your business stronger, too.
Finally, you don’t have to go it alone. A growth strategist who can facilitate the entire process, bring an outside perspective and decades of experience with all types of companies and situations, and also help you make the right decisions at every juncture, is an asset worth having. Especially if you don’t have that expertise yourself, there’s disagreement among your leadership team or the process will take too long or get too bogged down without guidance and accountability.
I make this suggestion because of the idea I opened this article with: far too often growth is happenstance.
Unless you’re a student of business growth, unless you’ve successfully executed next-level growth strategies, it is very difficult to identify the smart path forward and be confident in your decision. For many business owners engaging the right support is, quite literally, the end to growing by luck.