Finding a way to make growth sustainable is one of the most challenging issues that all business leaders face. Despite it not being a new problem in the world of business, for each entrepreneur or business owner, it can certainly feel that way.
What you see working in one industry may not necessarily transfer to yours, or the strategies you believed in 10 years ago may not seem as logical today.
Even though the circumstances for modern-day business owner and entrepreneurs are constantly changing, there are five fundamentals of sustainable growth that remain the same.
After all, you need to create long-term value from your work without exhausting the finite resources at your disposal.
1. Why Do You Do What You Do? a.k.a. Authentic Purpose
Before all is said and done, a company must be able to answer the question “Why do you do what you do?” A clear agreed-upon answer to this question will drive you towards figuring out and settling upon your firm’s authentic purpose.
This authentic purpose will then guide your team through recruitment, customer management and product development and sales.
However, the trick to creating sustainable business growth is to repeatedly reexamine your sense of purpose and ensure that you are continuing to serve it well as you expand. Your authentic purpose should allow for a steady sense of focus, continuous, pragmatic innovation, and a high emotional engagement, both within the company and with your customers.
2. Who Is Your Target Audience? a.k.a. A Powerful Brand
To continually grow, you must be focusing on creating a compelling brand image from day one. Don’t even consider trying to be everything for everyone (although this is difficult to navigate at the beginning).
Instead, think deeply about and lay out a step-by-step plan for how you are going to build brand equity and boost emotional connections with your customers. This takes time, but developing and nurturing these relationships is how you get customer retention.
Still, if you aren’t convinced that creating a brand is necessary, then just remember that amassing additional clients can cost an organization around five times more than retaining current ones. On the other hand, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, whereas it’s merely 5-20% for a new customer. Get brand brainstorming!
3. Who Can Help You? a.k.a. Partnerships & Collaboration
In the early days of a business, it is normal (if not essential) for an entrepreneur to do almost everything. However, taking on too much and attempting to work on and in areas that you have no knowledge in can be hugely damaging for your firm. It also isn’t sustainable and isn’t necessary in today’s global freelance economy.
Instead, know precisely what you want to get done and then seek out someone who is a pro at it. Whether you need specialized resources in design, development, sales, legal, or banking (to name a few), there are lots of websites that provide the talented expertise.
4. Are Your Sales Processes Successful? a.k.a. Repeatable Sales
Even when you have fallen in love with your authentic purpose, have made others fall in love with your powerful brand, and have found exceptional freelancers to collaborate with, you still aren’t done with creating a scalable business.
While you must celebrate the small milestones and initial sales, you must start designing and implementing sale process that can be successfully deployed again and again at an ever more significant scale.
You will know you’ve created a scalable sales model when you can:
• Add new hires at the same productivity level as the entrepreneur or the sales leader
• Boost your customer lead sources on a steady basis
• Consistently forecast your sales conversion rate and revenue
• Acquire a new customer for significantly less than the amount you can earn from that customer over time
• Get customers the right products in the right place at the right time
Obviously, this is the big dream and goal, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to create a repeatable sale model . For many businesses, it takes a lot of experimentation and intensive research before you discover one that works.
5. How are you evolving? a.k.a. Leadership
Each leader within a firm has a commitment to continually grow into the specific position that the business needs for each stage of growth. These needs are always changing, so it is up to the leaders to evolve with the business. In these roles, introspection, self-awareness, and a keen sense of long-term and short-term strategy are essential.
By reminding yourself of these five fundamentals, you will ensure that your company stays on the path to sustainable business growth. Lead the way!