Business growth isn’t about starting from scratch. At least, it doesn’t have to be. Not these days. Because if you want to find success without having to painfully trial-and-error your way there, look no further than your WiFi connection.
"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Isaac Newton, 1676
In today’s online search engine era of “everything at your fingertips,” it’s easier than ever to scour the web for business growth strategies that will help you develop your growth plan.
An online search will kick start your strategizing, since it gives you access to the best business minds on the planet.
DISCOVERING TRUTH BY BUILDING ON PREVIOUS DISCOVERIES
The coolest part about developing your business growth plan by “googling it” is that you’ll quickly find yourself sifting through resources that will encourage you to think outside of the "Forecasting Revenue and Growth" box.
This is exactly what you should hope for, since two key aspects of crucial organic growth aren’t seen in the typical business plan: leadership development goals and social networking for business (e.g., how to get referrals). These aspects will lend themselves to your business growth in huge ways...if you give them the proper attention they deserve.
Most business owners believe their company's growth will be achieved solely by raising their top line with greater product sales or service income OR by minimizing costs to increase their bottom line. But what about the human factors those line increases point to? Namely, employees and customers.
For maximum success, think of your growth strategy as a document that defines your core values, customer happiness, employee engagement, and company culture alongside more common themes such as scalability, cash flow, r&d, and your marketing stack.
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?
“Leadership development is a systematic approach to expanding the performance capability of individuals in leadership roles within your organization. And like any approach, it's not achieved through a single stage or step but rather through a journey. This journey is the process of leadership development.”
Ryan May, journalist at Business Dictionary
If you are a small business owner then you may not have many employees. That’s okay. The advice here is applicable whether you have two employees or two hundred. If you have just two employees, make a point to constantly up your collective game. Learn to create systems that will be easy to delegate to others as you scale. Pinpoint your organizational structure, and brainstorm ways to fill each role with someone smarter and more capable than you.
Take online leadership development courses developed by business leaders who have achieved actual success that can be measured, and stay away from those who will sell you a course designed to simply take your money. Look for proof of their business success. If it’s not there, move on. There is always another option.
That’s the beauty of the internet. As you learn how to make your business grow, it’s your employees that will keep the engine running so that you can continue steering the ship.
So look no further than your employees, both current and future.
LEADERSHIP EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
- Prialto’s How to Improve Employee Engagement by Improving Company Culture
- Prialto’s How to Stop Wasting Time On Repeatable Tasks You Can Delegate
- Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s Start-Up Nation
- Prialto's Top 7 TED Talks to Develop Your Growth Mindset and Double Your Productivity
- Seth Godin’s Difference Between Leadership and Management
WHAT IS COMPANY CULTURE?
It cannot be overstated that a well designed culture should be a defining factor in any growth strategy. When you can understand that there’s more to growth than forecasting revenue and growth, you’ll quickly realize that there's more to leadership than a title and more to employees than a W2 form.
In the same way that a fancy leadership title cannot guide and motivate your employees to accomplish their goals if you are an ineffective leader, you do not have a culture just because you hired people and opened your doors for business.
Culture is intentional. It’s ongoing, collaborative, and subject to the reality of your employees.
Our absolute favorite examples of company culture include Zappos, Hubspot, AirBnB, and REI.
CREATING COMPANY CULTURE
Harvard Business Review’s “Creating a Culture of Quality”
Book Recommendation and Review
- Adam Grant's Give and Take
- Authentic Jobs’ Hired: A podcast about work life, company culture, and hiring
- The Tony Robbins Podcast Episode 5: Transforming Your Company’s Culture
WHAT IS BUSINESS GROWTH?
We are all sales professionals.
When it comes right down to it, we are all trying to sell something.
Even if you work for a non-profit, one of your main goals is to “sell” your mission to donors. So in the spirit of “everyone is a salesperson,” check out the resources below. They are spilling over with useful, actionable information that will get you pumped about growing your business.
BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGIES
- Prialto’s 3 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out From Competitors
- Prialto’s 8 Force Multipliers for Entrepreneurs via Anthony Iannarino
- Vision Critical’s Why online communities are growing—and how you can get more from them
Book Recommendation and Review
- Ryan Blair's Rock Bottom to Rock Star
- Prialto’s Top 9 Podcasts for Sales Professionals
- The Commonwealth Club’s How to Build a Great Company, Step by Step
- Stanford’s Graduate School of Business What They Don't Teach in Business School about Entrepreneurship
- Harvard Innovation Lab’s Startup Secrets: Turning Products into Companies
WHAT IS BUSINESS NETWORKING?
Networking is vital to the success of your business. Phrases like "Your network is your net worth" and "It’s not what you know but who you know" make it apparent that business is all about growing and nurturing your network.
In business as in life, building connections is a lifesaver. Every connection you make comes with the potential to become a lead and then a new customer. In turn, that new customer can bring you more potential new customers through word-of-mouth referrals, which are marketing gold because they don't really cost you anything except time and attention.
Make sure you're connecting with your ideal customers on the social platforms that they frequent on a daily basis. Put yourself out there. Share. Comment. Like. Retweet. Stay relevant and provide useful information to your niche, and the corresponding community will eventually take notice.
And while social networking for business doesn't require you to leave the comforts of your home or office, it's important to get out and meet people face-to-face at networking events. Not sure where to begin? You can look up the best business networking events in your area by searching online for business networking groups. Check out meetup.com, which offers the best options to build your business network.
BUSINESS NETWORKING RESOURCES
- Prialto’s 5 Ways to Build Your Business Relationships
- Prialto’s Get Off the Feast-or-Famine Treadmill
- Huffington Post’s Meetup.com: A Secret Weapon for Your Career and Personal Brand
Book Recommendation and Review
- Gary Vaynerchuck's The Thank You Economy
- Art of Manliness Podcast Episode 92: Networking Without “Networking” with John Corcoran
- Traffic and Leads Podcast Leads Tip: Business Networking with Anthony Witt
- Stanford’s Graduate School of Business Best Practices for Building a Meaningful Network
- Malavika Varadan’s 7 Ways to Make a Conversation With Anyone
Put it All Together: Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Building a business is difficult work. Don't go it alone, even if you think it's more efficient to do everything yourself.
There are simple ways to stand on the shoulders of giants. The trick is to seek out the wisdom they have to share then apply your findings to your growth strategy.
By leveraging great minds who have been there and done that, you'll find new ways to tackle some of the most challenging obstacles to your growth.
The important thing is to find your community, and to thrive from their advice rather than merely survive.