Sustaining small business growth

After all your hard work, your business is finally growing.

Congratulations.

But you know that if you’re not deliberate, this growth may not last for long.

You see, small businesses as everything else in life goes through a period of ups and downs.

Your business may be growing today, but there is no guarantee that it won’t fall tomorrow.

So, what do you do to sustain the growth of your business over time?

Even though all businesses go through periods of growth and bursts, a few businesses have mastered the ability to grow over a longer time than most.

 

These businesses can sustain growth so well that they outgrow their competition.

In this article, I share a few tips you can implement to sustain the growth of your small business.

5 Ways To Sustain Small Business Growth

1. Develop A Long-Term Strategy/Plan

Any business that wants to grow and sustain that growth over time should have a plan and strategy to achieve its goals.

Unfortunately, many small businesses in Nigeria lack a plan or a well-articulated plan when they do.

For many, their business plans that ought to guide their growth have long been abandoned.

It is quite unfortunate.

Small business owners must be able to forecast what level of growth they want for their businesses in the next five to ten years.

And set out action steps and strategy to achieve their goals.

A plan is also important because it shifts the focus of the business owner from quarter or yearly performance to a focus on long-term performance.

2. Build Capacity To Sustain Growth

I’ll be honest, achieving the sustainable growth of any business would take a lot of hard work.

And the business owner cannot reliably do all that is needed to grow consistently for years.

The solution? Create capacity.

Your business would need to build a team of talented professionals who can take initiative and do what is necessary to grow your business.

These employees need to have the right skills, and motivation to increase the overall productivity of your business and keep the growth sustained.

You can increase your employees’ commitment to the long-term growth of your small business by tying their stakes with the growth of the business.

You can make them co-owners of the business. This is one practice that has been popularized in today’s world by startups, but more small business owners should implement execute similar strategies to get employees invested.

You’ll also need to build systems. As I’ve outlined here, these are critical to multiply the efforts of your employees and free up enough time you can channel into other activities that impact your bottom line.

3. Bring In More Revenue

For your business to grow, it needs revenue.

And for that growth to be sustained, it needs to continuously bring in more revenue and at favourable margins too.

To do that, you have to generate more sales as the business grows.

Making long-term investments in your sales team, so they have the necessary skills and resources to generate more sales is critical.

But you also have to be aware that sales are just one side of the revenue equation.

Your cost of doing business has to improve over time too.

That means your cost of acquiring customers, production etc. needs to be improved to ensure that your business is making more money as sales increase.

Bringing in more revenue also means that small businesses that are focused on long-term growth must diversify their streams of revenue to protect their growth.

4. Focus on What Matters

Many business owners tend to lose focus over time, and this has cost many the growth they worked so hard for.

They get distracted from what matters to their customers and pursue trends outside their core competence.

This dangerous mistake must be avoided at all costs.

Small business owners must clearly define what value their business brings to customers and teach themselves and their employees to say no to doing any activity or projects that are outside that.

It can be difficult, but the alternative might mean the death of your small business.

5. Always Seek Fresh Insights

This should always be a top priority.

Because a business that constantly relies on the biased judgement of the top management to make decisions for the growth of the business would find it difficult to sustain that growth if it happens.

Small business owners must create a structure that makes it easier for employees, customers and other external experts to share feedback or ideas with them.

It is not enough to have a feedback box in your office or run a survey every year.

Business management must be willing to receive these external inputs with an open mind.

This is also where business coaches come in. They help small business assess their decisions and make sure they are guided in reality and have a higher chance of success thanks to their years of industry experience.

We recommend that you get an SME Coach to help you if you’re self-motivated, and regularly put in the work to grow your business, but still feel like your business owns you, instead of you owning your business, you must be doing some things the wrong way.

You need The SME Coach.