Guest Blogger: Richard Proffer, University of Missouri Cape Girardeau County Extension Office SBTDC, firstname.lastname@example.orgMost business people what to grow their business but a question often comes up is am I ready to grow or can I afford to grow? Those are big questions for small business owners because of the time, commitment and financial resources it takes to successfully grow a business.
The first step towards growth is to take inventory on your business. Richard Proffer, business development specialist for University of Missouri Extension, says, “I am not talking about physical inventory where you count your product but a more mental and financial inventory to see if you have lined up the right resources to grow.”
For this inventory, the business owner will need to invest time in analyzing the current situation and work on redefining the business’s goals. This analysis will allow the owner to make smarter decisions, be more accurate in the financial projections and move faster into growth when it happens.
Many business owners face the Red Queen paradox where they feel the constant strain of working and working and not getting anywhere but where they started. This feeling is typical of entrepreneurs who have not done a good job of planning their business’s future. “Simply doing more of the same thing is usually not the answer for growing the business,” per Proffer. “You need to take action.”
Growth, at some level, is necessary for business survival. The alternative is stagnation and being overtaken by the competition.
In summary, the four steps in growing your firm include:
1. Taking an inventory, some may call it a SWOT analysis, and defining where the owner wants to be in the future with the business.
2. Develop plans out what needs to happen with the business either in sales, employees, financials or marketing to reach the desired goal. This must include measurable goals.
3. Start putting into action processes to reach the goal in the stated time.
4. Measure progress towards the goals to know progress is being made and the right path has been chosen for success or where to make corrections to the plan.
Strong businesses are always thinking of tomorrow. Take time to plan how your business will grow.
If business growth is part of your plans, contact your local Extension office for help and guidance for other resources. Also check out our website, Power of Business, as well as the national eXtension effort, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities.