For Small Businesses, Growth Must be Strategic

Every small business owner is interested in growth, yet few ever scale up in significant ways. Why is this? And what can you do to make sure your business scales with greater efficiency?

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You can always point to a few specific factors that set high growth small businesses apart from the average ones. One of them is mindset.

Successful small business owners aren’t content with holding the proverbial rope and bringing in solid yet predictable revenue year after year. They want more. And they realize that the only way to experience true growth and scalability is to go out and chase it down. It’s about being proactive and ambitious – not reactionary and content.

Here are some specific ways they move towards growth (and you can, too):

1. Invest in systems

Study any successful small business turned thriving organization and you’ll find that they spend a lot of money and strategic energy investing in systems. Systems to streamline sales, marketing, customer service, logistics, etc. These systems are scalable and efficient, which allows the team to step back and focus on innovation, leadership, and other important elements that only humans can manage.

The key is to find systems that don’t limit you. The goal is to invest in systems that help you achieve growth. So don’t align with a system that helps you grow from 25 accounts to 250 accounts, but then can’t get you to 500 accounts. (What’s the point? You’re using a system to grow to a point where you can’t grow any more.) Whether it’s a CRM system or an automated call answering service, total scalability is a must.

2. Outsource the right tasks

When a small business is in a phase of continued and accelerated growth, they must quickly expand their marketing capabilities. Unfortunately, onboarding qualified marketing talent at the same pace is unrealistic and unaffordable. And the real issue with marketing is that it’s no longer a single discipline business function.

“Need accounting help? Hire a CPA. Need marketing help and you may need to hire a sales strategist, writer, designer, web programmer, search engineer, videographer…and on and on,” EAG Advertising & Marketing explains. “Outsourcing your marketing solves this problem because it gives you access to all of these experts without hiring them individually.”

Be smart about how and whom you outsource to. If you do your due diligence on the front end, you won’t have to micro-manage or look over your shoulder on the backend.

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3. Increase strategic spending

There’s a rampant misconception among many small business owners that you have to pinch every penny and carefully direct every single dollar of spend in order to be resourceful enough to grow. And while there’s something to be said for having fiscal responsibility, you can’t be afraid to spend.

Strategic spending is a must for small businesses that want to grow. It can feel scary at first – almost like a blind leap over a fiery pit – but there’s almost always a reward on the backend. As you spend on marketing, advertising, lead generation, and innovation, your results will compound and you’ll start generating actual monetary ROI. You have to spend some to get some!

4. Be bold and fail fast

Failure is uncomfortable in the moment, but you have to get over it! Operate under the mindset that you’re going to fail nine out of 10 times – but that tenth time (where you succeed) will be so powerful and rewarding that the nine other failures will pale in comparison. The key is to fail fast. Don’t drag things on. When failure is imminent, move on to the next thing.

Do you have a plan?

If you can’t point to a documented growth plan – meaning it’s literally written down somewhere – you aren’t serious about growing. That might sound harsh, but it’s true. The only way to truly pursue growth is to articulate a plan and then pursue the necessary action steps day after day after day. It’ll feel repetitive at times, but you’ll look back in three, six, or nine months and clearly see the fruits of your labor.

The time for planning is now! Gather your team and begin formulating your strategy for efficient growth.

About the Author

Alex Sanders is a passionate and experienced writer with a focus on business finance, politics, public policy and law. He is extremely passionate about social justice issues. Alex received his Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Michigan. 

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