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Do you want or need growth?

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Growing a business can be a pretty tough thing to do. If you’re committed to it, set goals, develop systems and strategies then you will get through the growing pains. But you do have to ask yourself a basic question – do I want or need business growth?

“There’s a big difference between what people want and need in life, and the same principle applies to business,” says author and trainer, John Lees.

“For instance, although most people want to be fit, look good and stay in shape, by far the majority do not possess these attributes. This is because they only have a weak desire, or a want (based on media ‘images’), rather than a serious reason, or a need (they must be fit and in shape),” he adds.

So while many businesses might want growth, most have not cultivated a need for growth.

“To want growth usually means to make more money, to have more power, to be perceived by others to ‘be successful’, etc.” says Lees.

“To need growth is to have a product or service of value that you want more customers to experience. Or it might be that you have good staff who need more responsibility and a higher challenge, or perhaps you need to block a competitor from taking a position that could erode your business. And of course if you have such needs then it is natural that you would privately hope to make more money and be more successful,” he says.

In Lees own business, he’s at the point where aiming for growth is an important issue.
“Revenue is not the problem, not that I wouldn’t welcome greater income, it is simply a case of needing to spread my wings. As a speaker, consultant and trainer, I have created valuable educational concepts and business development systems.

“So I am investigating how I can attract good quality trainers/consultants who can work with more clients in more markets, with my services. This is not just a question of finding good people, I also have to consider the time needed to train them properly, and I have to determine how we promote our ‘new’ services. All of this is a serious and challenging need for our company, and not just a wish for ‘more money’ and a bigger business,” he says.

To achieve growth it will be necessary to attend to a number of key issues:
•    Stand back from the day to day running of the business and discuss growth moves with one or more ‘quality thinkers’
•    Organise research to confirm the levels of opportunity you have seen
•    Make a plan for growth that is realistic and achievable, in terms of numbers and time involvement
•    Take calculated risks. Growth cannot be realised except through foresight, planning, flexibility and determination to succeed
•    Prepare to put in more total effort so as to ensure short term results stay healthy, while planning for new moves.

Implementing growth plans is an exciting and worrying time, so be prepared for problems and changes. And be committed to a more demanding role in future, for growth means more effort and responsibility.

“This brings into question again the point of need, with the emphasis on the personal side this time. Are you ready to put in more time and effort, and you are happy and indeed capable of contributing at a higher level?” says Lees.

With growth come growing pains for both the business and the individuals in it, especially the owner. “But this can be forecasted as easily as new parents accepting that their lives will never be the same again,” he adds.

New habits will be needed, in both a personal and business sense.
“On the personal side it is imperative that you ‘make time’ to enjoy recreational pursuits, otherwise the growth achieved will be resented,” says Lees.

So, let’s assume that you determine that growth is a need. You will need to learn to work in different and more efficient ways, and delegate effectively.

“Here is the background to positive delegation,” says Lees.

“There are three forms of work, generative, regenerative and degenerative. Generative work involves stretching yourself in new areas of business thinking and contribution. This kind of work is exhilarating and forms the basis of creative effort.

“Regenerative work involves important tasks that you have done before and must do again on a regular basis. This kind of work must be continuously improved. Degenerative work involves tasks that you shouldn’t perform, and this work should be delegated to people in the business who can probably perform the tasks better than you can. “Regenerative work can perhaps be shared, but degenerative work must be delegated within or out-sourced, otherwise it will detract from your more serious tasks,” he says.
Because growth can be tough, many small businesses fail to achieve it and they either go out of business or they retreat to their tiny operations.

Lees makes some valid points to consider. “The cause is that too many people start businesses for the wrong reasons, most of which relate to making more money or doing less work. The definition of ‘winning’ is progress through struggle, and the greatest struggle for any small company is not external ‘conditions,’ but internal motivation and commitment. If you have a product or service of value, and you are continuously improving the product or service, then enjoy the struggle of achieving growth.”


Published on: Monday, August 03, 2009

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