How should you grow your business?

Typically in the consultancy industry, we work with a business leader (often also the owner) who has an ambition to grow their business but is struggling with making it happen.  We often hear things like:

“I want to grow my business but I’m just too busy.

“Just let me get this done over the next quarter and then I’ll get to it…’’

“We have so many opportunities it’s difficult to focus on the right one.”

Business growth and development is a priority but does the day-to-day running of their business prevent them from looking to the future? These top tips can help to guide the growth process: doing the right things, time management, planning and company culture.

Doing The Right Things

Firstly, as a business leader who wants to achieve growth you have to be in a state of readiness and be prepared for change in your company, you need to think about defining the greater purpose of the business and the reason why you exist.  Secondly, you should also consider how you want various stakeholders to perceive your business. You need to communicate your vision clearly to customers, suppliers, investors, and most importantly, your own team as a group, a business function and critically on a one to one basis.

Time management

The next area leaders need to get right is time management. As a business leader, you truly need to understand the value of time and practice strict time management. In a study commissioned by the London Business School for Harvard Business Review, researchers found business leaders typically perform low value tasks for a significant amount of their working week. We have found that on average, management spend between 8 – 31 per week on non-business critical tasks such as banking cheques, cleaning and making supplier payments. Imagine if these hours could be clawed back; it would give management back 1-4 working days of the week, meaning they could instead spend the time where their value lies; leading, directing, driving operations servicing clients and adding value.

4 steps towards achieving better time management:

 – Identify low-value tasks that take up time
 – Decide whether to drop, delegate, outsource these tasks
 – Allocate freed up time to more pressing business critical matters
 – Commit to your plan

Planning

Once a leader realises where their value lies in the business, committing to a business plan and its implementation is the next critical step. A plan is vital for success. In order to understand the current situation, you must consider what the strategic alternatives are, commit to a way forward, define your short-term goals with a one year operating plan as well as think about your long-term strategy by writing a three year business plan. Evidence from both Warwick and Cranfield University suggests that a business with a plan grows 33.4% faster than one without!

Company culture

Finally, business owners should think about how to balance the business strategy with the company culture. In my role as a consultant, I have found that driving growth through is much more effective if the values and behaviours of the organisation are aligned with the vision. The Tosti and Jackson model defines this very succinctly. Businesses need to invest time in planning the company’s culture. One way businesses can work towards developing a culture is to organise a workshop with employees to better understand the existing culture and define specific actions that can help guide cultural change over time.

Businesses must adopt some guiding principles in order to ensure they remain focused on growth and not get caught in just the day-to-day running of their business. Once a clear strategic plan is put in place, any business can look forward to flourishing.