This is the first blog in a series on growth.
Kevin Cope’s bestseller “Seeing the Big Picture” is a fast course in business acumen. In it, Cope calls growth “one of the five key drivers that power any business.” If you’re thinking about growth, here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Find your “why”
It was a critical question when you started: Why am I doing this? Do I have a new idea? A new way of filling an old need? A better product or service? This article in Entrepreneur quotes author, speaker, and business evangelist Guy Kawasaki as saying it’s critical to “Find your why.”
According to Kawasaki, the “why” of a startup is what gets you motivated. What does that look like? Maybe the essence of what you do is finding a cure for cancer. Maybe it’s serving coffee to the people in your neighborhood better than anyone else. Maybe it’s making instruments so people can take the joy of music into their own hands. Kawasaki’s “why”? He told Entrepreneur: “I have four children. I’ve got a lot of tuition to pay.” The article goes on to suggest that if you find your why “…you’ll be fired up to reach the sky.”
Brand, brand, brand
In another recent article, Fast Company says: “Today’s economy requires business leaders to create positive memories for customers and partners…or customers will turn to a competitor…” The article continues, “If you want to build a scalable business, you have to understand just how crucial it is to build brand equity. The emotional attachment that links customers to your product…translates into sustainable growth.”
How to build brand equity? FC’s advice: Target your audience rather than trying to be all things to all people; connect with people and make them feel that emotional attachment; inspire and influence your audience instead of just highlighting product features; and reinforce the brand within your company. That means employees at every level work and behave in a way that reinforces your brand image.
Create original content
It’s now accepted in this Internet world that prospective customers are researching online well before they contact someone with whom they’re considering doing business. That means organizations need to be out there with content of value that will bring them closer to the brand. WhenIWork is just one of many sources to recommend that businesses wanting to grow should create and post original content. As WhenIWork puts it: “You likely already act as the person customers and employees reach out to when they need help, so why not share your expertise on a company blog, LinkedIn post, or YouTube video?”
Sounds simple, but it’s powerful: If you can get a task done faster, it creates space to grow your business. Bplans did the math: “If you can condense three four-month jobs into three three-month jobs, you can do one more job in the year.” That’s a 33% growth in capacity.
One way to work faster is to automate manual business processes. Automating can give you back time now spent on drudgery. This recent post on the Concur blog details the pains of manual expense reporting: hours filling out spreadsheets, the risk of inaccurate data entry, and the lack of visibility into cash flow. Online automation means employees get back to productive work faster, managers complete approvals more quickly, reimbursements are more prompt, and costs are lower. And all that frees up talent and resources for growth.