Shall we talk about growth strategy today? Very fashionable in the start-up ecosystem, you might say, but not effectively planned (euphemism) in all the small businesses we come into contact with…
What is your strategy to increase your sales? What is your action plan to find more customers? Do you have an integrated direct & indirect sales strategy? You are overwhelmed by the supremacy of social networks, but how much of the hard work you put there is well connected to your medium term growth strategy?
Let’s spend enough time working ON our businesses! Keeping them afloat on a day-to-day basis is good, but not enough: it’s time to look at our growth prospectives strategically & plan them to prioritise our efforts. A successful business is a business that grows, but in a structured & orderly way!
As a business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of meeting customer expectations while drowning in the jungle of communication & business administration. We need to spend time working IN our business as well as ON our business. What does it practically mean?
Working IN your company vs. working ON your company
Every day, you deliver client projects, make quotes, manage your social networks, maintain relationships with past & present clients, make discovery calls with prospects & partners, manage accounting, customer service, develop products, create content & the list goes on. In a nutshell, you maintain your business, implement actions & perform tasks to keep your business running. These are tasks that fill your day-to-day life, but don’t really leave room to build a structured reflection around the development of your business.
You are your best employee, the one who is versatile, able to handle several tasks at once, which requires a broad array of skills. However, in this whirlwind of tasks, you forget to put on your business manager’s hat, the only hat that allows you to work on your business.
Here, we are talking about taking the time to think: time to think about how you can develop your business, how you can activate your growth, how you can sell more or target new markets. These are reflective exercises that require regularity & dedication.
Working ON your business to ensure its growth
It is not easy to manage the day-to-day tasks, the unexpected (working in your business) & at the same time spend time working on your business, i.e. working on strategies & growth scenarios. Nevertheless, this is crucial if you want to have a sustainable business. We consider that working on your business is essential to achieve satisfactory or exceptional results in the medium term.
Indeed, when you work on your business, you take a step back from your recurring activities & this allows you to come up with solutions, adjustments & innovations. How can you know what needs to be changed if you don’t take the time to ask yourself the question?
Furthermore, working on your business means setting annual, monthly or weekly objectives. Setting goals allows you to have a precise vision of the actions to be taken on a daily basis, to be sharper & quicker in taking decisions in order to get closer to the goals you want to achieve.
Every minute spent working in your business sub-optimally is a minute wasted not strategizing, planning & building the most resilient business possible. The only person who is highly motivated to grow your business is you – because you are the one who will reap the benefits. It would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity.
Once you take the time to work on your business, you will be able to think strategically, prioritise & become more efficient. This will help you boost your sales, stay competitive & therefore make more money. Exactly what you’ve been dreaming of, right?
Concrete actions to implement to make your small business successful
Now that you have understood the difference between working ON your business & working IN your business, & the importance of spending time working on your business, it is time to take concrete action.
The first step is to take the time to reflect on your business. We know that you are busy, but you need to set aside time in your schedule to think about your prospectives. You need to reflect, to take a step back from your business. You need to come up with new ideas for aspects that need to be changed & improved. In order to come up with new ideas & innovations, don’t forget to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. These goals will allow you to develop effective growth strategies.
As a business owner, you most probably have your head in the sand & it is difficult to remain objective or neutral when it comes to evaluating, criticizing your business. That’s why it’s crucial, in addition to analysing your data, to ask for external points of view, recommendations on your business. Whether it is a coach or a group of wise entrepreneurs, their advice & opinions will give you an objective view.
We imagine that you have established a routine & organisation to run your business, but take time to reflect on it & optimise it. Identify recurring tasks & try to automate or delegate them. Try batch work to increase efficiency. Set priorities. This will allow you to focus on what is important, save time & make strategic decisions.
Finally & most importantly, measure. You can work on your business as much as you want, but without measuring the results, you won’t grow. You need to measure the strategies, ideas & processes you put in place. If you don’t measure, you will never know if what you are implementing is working or not.
Only you can decide & impact the trajectory of your business. As you will have understood, a successful business is one that has goals, implements strategies & solutions & then measures the results. In other words, an entrepreneur who takes the time to work on his or her business development strategically, with the same dedication that he or she shows when serving & satisfying his or her clients.
Struggling to define the right growth strategy for your business? At Incubator Studio, we activate your growth & reveal your potential! Let’s talk about your growth strategy during a strategic call.