Posted: Wed 1st Dec 2021
Veronica Broomes is a business coach and sustainability consultant, and one of Enterprise Nation's advisers. Here, she dives into the topic of accelerating your business's growth.
Are you one of the UK's private-sector business leaders? Have you gone from lone entrepreneur to company director or partner? It might surprise you to know that you make up a huge proportion of the private sector in the UK's small business community.
According to the Federation of Small Business, 99.3% of the 5.8 million SMEs in the UK are in the private sector.
Like many small business founders, you may be keen for your venture to be more than just a 'job'. There might, however, be a struggle when you realise that growing a business isn't straightforward, even with a solid customer base and high revenue.
What many founders like you have discovered is that the skills, knowledge, passion and expertise that served you well in the early stages of your business – while you were acquiring customers or clients – aren't suitable for growth.
Then, when trying to grow your business at speed while avoiding common mistakes, you feel overwhelmed, disheartened and isolated.
Indeed, at times it seems your business is, at best, at a standstill or, worse, on a slippery slope. A slope that erodes your previous gains and personal finances and weakens your ability to pay suppliers. A classic scenario of one step forward becoming three steps backwards!
'Organised chaos' is not a solution for business growth
In your business's early years, were you swayed by new 'resources' promising to solve a specific issue in your business, but which left you ignoring other aspects of the business, often to your peril?
This may have led, for example, to you not paying attention to:
your revenue model
your pricing strategy
any of the pillars of sustainability (people, profit, planet; or people, planet and governance)
Being unable to move full speed ahead and finding yourself stuck only with day-to-day operations can be disconcerting. Such 'organised chaos' is not a credible foundation for growing a business.
Another challenge you may have faced is the struggle to shift from being 'hands-on' in your business to working at a strategic level to provide greater value for your business and customers.
In part, that reluctance (or refusal) to be less operational can arise out of a fear of engaging with customers in a less 'personalised' way and causing their trust to diminish over time.
This way of thinking, however, is a recipe for your burnout and your business stagnating. Instead, the way forward is to willingly create procedures and systems so other people in your team can deliver great value to clients and customers.
Planning to grow a business requires integration and systems
When you plan for growing your business, you need:
clear end goals
key milestones along the way
a system or framework in which your business thrives
Your system or framework must be strong enough to withstand turbulence along the way, predict adversity and identify and implement appropriate measures to limit those adverse effects.
In planning how and when to grow your business, you need to understand the broader environment, as having a limited view of growth is a recipe for failure. Growing a business isn't a straight line between your product or service and your customers or clients!
Analysing your business with tools such as SWOT and PESTLE will make success more likely. You can use SWOT to highlight your business's strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, you can spot opportunities to grow as well as the weakness that could inhibit that growth.
On top of that, having a broader view of the environment in which your business operates means considering the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental aspects of landscape your business lies within.
Taking action to grow your business
At a fundamental level, growing your business means more than just higher revenues, a greater number of clients or a larger marketing budget.
It means implementing key strategies for sustained and profitable growth. For this, you need clearly defined SMART goals, key milestones and resources (financial, people/talent) that work as part of a system that moves your business forward.
This approach allows you to integrate processes and procedures and 'harness' your talent to deliver long-term growth for your business.
Growing your business means not only integrating sustainability at the planning and operational stages, but using technology to improve the value you offer your customers. It also means boosting productivity and making sure you price your products and services in line with your revenue model, for improved profitability.
Clarity, planning and systems – pivotal for business growth
Are you struggling with using SMART goals in your planning or the most appropriate revenue model or pricing menu for your business?
If so, your next step should be to make sure you're clear about your main business goal and reason for growing.
Knowing your end goal and specific milestones you want to achieve, and having a strong revenue model and system to enable growth, are vital requirements for ambitious business owners who are ready to grow their businesses.
As the founder of your business, you'll be able to provide greater value not only to your customers or clients but to your own business and to wider society at a local, national and/or global level.
Veronica Broomes of Your Small Business Coach is a business coach, sustainability consultant and two-time business founder.
Download Veronica's free e-books, Top 10 tips for setting SMART goals and 8 common pricing mistakes made by small businesses
As part of her mission to accelerate growth in service-based small businesses, Veronica works with ambitious small business owners who are ready to quicken their growth but lack a system for doing so.
Through an online five-step system for business growth, and in a supportive group of entrepreneurs, Veronica helps business founders to create solid foundations and integrated systems to accelerate their businesses' growth.