The New Year is upon us and the start of 2019 is the ideal time to make new commitments in support of good growth.
Here are 12 “good” things business owners and CEOs need to do to support their company’s growth strategy this year and beyond:
#1: Get Your Financials in Order
First and foremost, business owners and CEOs need to ensure the fundamentals of their financial function are in place, and that financial practices that support growth are established and followed. This primarily includes two key concepts:
- Generating accurate and timely financial reporting processes
- Financials represent the activities in the business (in other words, accrual-based accounting)
If your financial fundamentals do not accurately reflect your business activities and your reporting is not rock solid, it’s time to assess your finance function, identify gaps in information and processes and develop a sound financial plan and system for the coming year.
#2: Optimize Your Finance Team
A critical question to ask at the start of each year is:
Do I have the leadership team required to take my business into its next phase of growth?
In particular, a good finance leader is essential and will be a strong growth partner for your company going forward. So, to answer the question, assess your company’s needs against your current financial team and, if a skills gap exists, design your “next phase CFO” and proactively look for either an outsourced solution that fits your parameters or a new hire to fill that role.
Growth companies need to keep overhead to minimum, so always consider outsourcing as a possible wise solution for bridging the gap between being ready for stronger financial leadership and not being quite ready to hire a full-time CFO.
#3: Develop and Document Systems & Processes
Achieving optimum operational efficiency demands well-documented, repeatable processes that not only outline the most efficient way to perform business activities, but also keep your company safe from knowledge losses should individuals in key positions leave the company – or are absent for a significant amount of time (think: parental leave; medical leave, sabbaticals, etc.).
Additionally, any company on a growth trajectory needs to consider the importance of automation in improving efficiencies and reducing cost. Thanks to the plethora of function-specific technologies, doing so is very easy today and well worth the effort and the expense of supportive platforms.
#4: Perfect Your Resource Planning
Resource planning is the linchpin of successful growth strategy execution. This means that analyzing underlying business growth drivers to ensure your company has the right resources in place to stay ahead of competitors is essential.
Re-visiting resource planning often is especially important in our current constantly shifting marketplace where your ability to stay on top of change and potential disruptors can determine whether or not you have a good year, as well as help you adjust resource-related plans such as your hiring plan.
#5: Figure Out How You’ll Finance Future Growth
Growth-focused companies cannot always rely on banked cash to achieve the growth goals set for a new year. Therefore, being smart about how you plan for and fund growth through other means is essential for avoiding the kind of debt that can bring down a business.
Currently, business lending is on the rise and if you’ve had a strong 2018, now might the ideal time to borrow at a lower rate to either fund future growth or pay off past, high-interest debt.
To maintain good growth, you also want to consider cycles within your industry and secure your access to cash now so that low-revenue periods don’t throw a wrench into your growth plans.
Of course, planning ahead is only one key activity related to securing funding for future growth. You also need to analyze financials at regular intervals throughout the year with the goal of always improving your company’s financial situation.
#6: Secure Your Company & Be Crisis-Prepared
Growth-focused companies can’t afford to remain open to risks that can easily be prevented with some forethought.
For example, employee theft can ruin a company when simply not allowing only one person to be in charge of all things financial will either stop a would-be thief in their tracks or catch theft early on.
Installing back up systems is also a key measure today’s companies must take to ensure operations continue in the face of any number of threats, including outages and cyber attacks.
It’s also important to plan for responding to the types of crises that either have the power to topple companies or that may not be that major in the long term but which could stall growth if your company is caught unprepared.
Developing a crisis plan involves determining all the types of crises that could impact your business and developing an action plan for how your company will react. It can help to work with a crisis communications consultant as these experts are skilled at identifying potential threats your team might not identify on their own and formulating an appropriate and crisis-minimizing response.
#7: Get Out of the Weeds
Owners of growing companies can have a difficult time shifting their attention from working “in” their business to working “on” it. After all, daily fires are typical at any truly growth-focused company and it’s tough to take the role of guide when it’s so “easy” to just jump in there and fix it yourself. To overcome these tendencies and get yourself out of the weeds, you need a two-pronged approach:
First, learn how to delegate the “doing” in order to free up time to take on a real leadership role. Because it’s so difficult and not always obvious, working with a growth consultant can provide a fast-track way to determine what you should hand off and what you shouldn’t.
Second, develop a diverse leadership team capable of guiding your company into its next phases of good growth. Diversity is key here because growing companies need varied perspectives, backgrounds and skill sets to fully prepare for the future and take action towards it.
#8: Share Your Knowledge
Part of leading a growing company involves taking a leadership role within the larger community – to stay abreast of change, keep an eye on competitors and seek out new opportunities; and also to increase your company’s visibility and establish it as a major player in commerce locally, regionally and nationally. Being perceived as a major player especially serves growth tactics such as increasing your company’s attractiveness to top talent and positioning your company for strategic partnerships.
You can accomplish all of this by attending meaningful business and community happenings, participating on boards; speaking to groups, associations and at industry and progressive business events; as well as by contributing expert articles to business publications and online venues, and by publishing content that promotes your thought leadership.
That said, we believe strongly in mentoring others with only the goal of helping and supporting another individual’s personal and professional growth as your driver.
Sharing knowledge with others who also have the desire to grow and make a significant contribution is what powers positive change in all areas of society.
#9: Build a High-Performing, Company-Growing Advisory Board
So many business owners and CEOs who are serious about achieving next-level growth understand that they need access to information, connections and resources beyond what they can provide solo. They also realize that more (smart) heads are better one, and invite advice and guidance.
The wisest way access high-level and truly company-growing support is through a high-performing Advisory Board.
This option is ideal for growth-focused companies because once a high-performing Advisory Board is in place, its only focus is the growth and success of your company over a specific period of time (e.g. 2019) and/or related to a specific goal (e.g. achieving 20% growth in the next 12 months).
High-performing Advisory Boards bring specialized knowledge and experience, and are committed to taking meaningful action on your company’s behalf.
Putting together this type of Advisory Board and managing it in a way that ensures the outcome that “high-performing” promises requires experience and there are consultants, including BottomLine Growth Strategies, that can support you in developing a high-performing board.
We hope you will adopt our Top 9 New Year’s Resolutions for 2019 and Beyond for yourself and your company, and we wish you much “good” growth and personal and professional success this year and for many years to come.