For years I tried to answer this one question. How are SMEs that achieve sustainable growth different from SMEs that do not grow?
I’ve been running a freelance digital marketing business for quite some time and have spoken to thousands of business owners in many industries. I learned that there is no silver bullet or 17-point checklist for solid growth. However, there are seven specific areas that growing companies are focusing on.
1. Strong sense of purpose.
Most leaders of growing companies find that they need more than a promise to increase their monetary rewards to stimulate their aspirations and ambitions. They find a higher call than simply pursuing “more money.”
2. Excellent market intelligence.
This is the ability of an organization to first recognize and then adapt to fundamental changes in the market. Small business owners are often too short-sighted to see a limited view of competing markets. Growth leaders see the big picture.
3. Effective growth plan.
This is the best predictor of whether your business will grow. To be effective, the plan for growth does not have to be overly formal or complex. However, it needs to be written, well communicated and updated regularly.
4. Customer-led process.
These days, all the companies I talk to believe that it’s customer-driven, even though it’s really rare. Let’s look at all business processes from the customer’s perspective. Are they arranged to make it easier for the company, or to help customers fulfill their promises of being faster, cheaper, and better?
5. The power of technology.
Successful leaders give them no excuse for the boom and bust of the technology cycle to ignore that we live in the information age. If a company is doing business, it’s in the technology business.
6. The best and brightest people.
Growth leaders recognize that they are only as good as the people they work with. The ability to hire, train and retain talented people is often the difference between success and failure.
7. See the future.
Few organizations take the time to think about the future on a regular basis. Growth leaders learn how to enthusiastically monitor and interpret the macro forces of change that affect the world in which they live.