You flip the desk calendar to 2017. It’s time again to sit down, reflect on the year that was, and plan for the long term.
It’s natural to want each year to be bigger and better than the last. Perhaps you’re looking to expand your service offering, take on more staff, or boost total revenue. Whatever your plans, growth just seems to be the next logical step.
But the road to growth comes fraught with dangers.
In their book The Founder’s Mentality, Chris Zook and James Allen discuss a decade-long study of companies from over 40 countries. They found that growth often caused businesses to lose energy and focus, destroying the very things that made them great.
So what’s the smartest way to manage growth? How do you preserve your business’ ‘founders mentality’, the attitudes and behaviours of strong, successful founders?
1. Look internally. Focus on your core.
As businesses grow, they often get distracted by external pressures, such as increasing customers, profits or market share. However, Zook and Allen’s study found that 90% of barriers to successful growth have roots in internal factors, such as employees, leadership, technology and planning. That’s why it’s vital to pay attention to what’s happening inside your business.
What does that mean in practice? A trained and engaged workforce, constantly upgraded systems, and logical, seamless procedures. Which leads to the next point…
2. Simplify. Resist complexity.
As companies grow, they invariably become more complex, ungainly and inefficient. Zook and Allen cite complexity as the silent killer of growth. Growing businesses often become out of touch with their core operations and the needs of their staff and customers.
Instead, businesses should constantly simplify and streamline. For example, cloud-based technologies can make all your data more elegant and accessible. Streamlined systems, such as our automated bookkeeping service, can free up your time and speed up decision-making. In the same way, hiring a virtual finance department will reduce paperwork and simplify business operations.
Throughout the year, your business should also take stock of your current position—are you as energised and efficient as you could be? Business Lighthouse’s Lean Businesses health check service can assess your situation and simplify your business system set-up.
If you tackle 2017 with the right mindset, opportunities for growth are endless.