Turning a small startup into a multimillion-dollar enterprise is an entrepreneur’s dream come true. But what are the secrets to growing a successful company? Business growth expert and speaker Steven S. Little (www.stevenslittle.com) provides some answers — which he says most experts will agree with — on how to achieve “profitable growth.”
“Most entrepreneurs have a growth plan in their head,” explains Little. “But to sustain an effective growth strategy, that plan needs to be written down, well communicated, and regularly updated.” In his book, The 7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth (John Wiley & Sons; $18.95), Little outlines his effective principles for sustained small business growth and success.
FOLLOW THESE RULES FOR SUCCESS
Establish and maintain a strong sense of purpose. Start by answering these questions: Why are you doing what you are doing? What is your company trying to accomplish? Honing your overall purpose is the first step toward growth.
Thoroughly understand the marketplace. To grow a business, you need to recognize what customers are looking for and respond to it. Gain a better understanding of your market by reading industry magazines and trade journals. Join associations and trade groups to stay informed and share information.
Build an effective growth planning system. Tap into employees, managers, and outside observers to help develop a good growth plan. Prioritize growth planning every day.
Develop customer-driven processes. Define everything that you do from a customer’s perspective, and then look for ways to improve that every single day. Look for ways in which technology can improve your customer acquisition and retention.
Put the power of technology to work. Educate yourself and become an expert on how technology will impact your business and industry. Identify technology experts who can propose ways to save you money and automate your business processes.
Attract and keep the best and the brightest. A small business owner needs to continually find, train, and retain superior people to achieve sustainable growth. Recognize the importance of purpose for your employees.
See the future more clearly. Find ways to record and measure signs of change within your organization. Gather information about emerging issues and consider the importance of these trends to your business. Finally, develop an action plan to respond to these forces of change.