The business world is evolving. But, there are tried-and-true growth strategies that can assist businesses of all sizes and stages in navigating their journey to success. You can improve your chances of achieving sustainable growth by applying these growth strategies.
The growth techniques I will discuss here are critical to your success. They are the outcome of my personal experience starting and running my own business and the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs who have used them as part of my consulting process.
Are you a business person who wants to get to the next level? Here are 5 proven growth strategies and how to implement them as an entrepreneur.
Table of contents
- 1. Develop Persistence and Patience Is the First Growth Strategy
- 2. Start with small steps
- 3. Invest in your personal and professional growth
- 4. Continuous experimenting and analysis as one of the growth strategies
- 5. Continuous Improvements
1. Develop Persistence and Patience Is the First Growth Strategy
When I started my business 16 years ago, I knew that it would not be an overnight success. I already know that I will need to sacrifice many things that were normal in my life until then. The first three years were the worst ones. Many times I thought about giving up on everything.
So, the first thing or the first important growth strategy for you is to prepare yourself to be persistent.
What is persistence?
Persistence is the ability to act in the face of discouragement and adversity. It is the willingness to keep doing something even after setbacks occur.
As you can see, persistence involves continuing to work towards your goals, even in the face of challenges or setbacks.
You will become persistent if you dedicate and commit yourself to something. In this case, we are talking about commitment to your business. I don’t talk here about the obsession. It is something different. I am talking about putting yourself at the heart of your business. If you are dedicated and committed, it will help you grow your small business and, at the same time, have fun.
You need to understand that you can’t become a successful entrepreneur overnight. There will be many ups and downs. Building a successful business is not an overnight success. There is no such thing as good luck. Never start anything to which you are not prepared to commit 5 years of your life. For many people, that’s a long time frame. But as you can see in the next strategy, it will give you enough time to implement your plan, to experiment and test things, and at last, to measure what you’ve done.
Action Steps to Become Persistent and Patient
- Create a long-term vision for your business. Define what success looks like for your business and create a roadmap for how you will achieve it.
- Remind yourself that success is not just a matter of being lucky but will require effort to get there.
- You must keep pushing yourself until you reach the success you want to reach.
- Stay accountable. You can find someone to hold you accountable for reaching your goals, such as a mentor or coach.
- Stay motivated and focus on why you started your business in the first place to remind yourself of the benefits of achieving your goals.
- Break down your long-term vision into milestones with short-term goals. Set achievable goals for the next 3 months, 6 months, one year, and beyond to keep you on track toward your long-term vision.
- Create an action plan. Develop a detailed plan outlining how to achieve your short-term goals and stay on track toward your long-term vision.
2. Start with small steps
The second growth strategy I have used from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey is that I need to take small incremental steps. Even though I have had too many criticisms from the beginning from my customers and potential customers, I know that I can’t offer and do things outside my own potential.
I remember having doubts many times about making a big deal and leaving some of the important steps in building my company. But, to be honest, my small steps saved my ass.
Why Small Steps?
So, you can’t jump the steps in the process of building and running a successful business.
Robert Maurer, Ph.D. in his great book “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way” advice following:
If you are trying to reach a specific goal, ask yourself every day: What is one small step I could take toward reaching my goal?
When you do little things, each day, after a week, month, or year will come big results. So, don’t try to achieve big goals quickly. You will not succeed. In my experience, big goals that entrepreneurs try to achieve quickly don’t last because they quickly become disappointed. On the other side, small steps each day will bring you to achieving your big goals. That’s the only way to achieve such a goal, for sure.
Action Steps to Start With Small Steps
As you can see, if you need to take 10.000 steps and you implement 5 of them each day, you will come to the finish line in 2.000 days. It’s less than six years. Because of that, the first strategy is to be persistent and commit a minimum of 5 years of your life to create a successful business.
So, sit down and do the following things:
- Setup your most important goals. Start with the goals in your mind. You will probably have many goals you want to reach, but as with everything else, prioritize them and select three to five of them that you want to reach in the next one to two years. Be sure that your goals are SMART goals.
- Make a plan for how you will work to achieve your goals. When you have goals, you can start thinking about specific action steps that you will need to take to achieve your goals. Think about the smaller possible steps you need to take.
- Start with the implementation. Each evening select three to five steps and put them on your to-do list for the next day. Be sure you are committed daily to implementing these three to five items on your to-do list. Don’t allow other things to procrastinate, and don’t implement them as you need. If you really want to achieve your goals, these action steps must be your first priority.
3. Invest in your personal and professional growth
I am always open to learning something new. It is really important for all entrepreneurs. So, you need to invest in your personal and professional growth by attending networking events to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry.
Even though I have more than 20 years of working experience, and as a Ph.D. in technical science and several pieces of research with hundreds of companies, I am always learning every day many things related to entrepreneurship and startups. But, to be honest, when I started my company, I became aware that my knowledge was not as great as I thought then.
When I understood this – for my luck as early as possible – I made another strategy that brought me to the stage where I am now. The strategy that I still implement now is to learn something new every day continuously.
You Can Not Become an Expert on Everything Overnight
In my everyday job, I have seen many entrepreneurs who put very high pressure on themselves to learn new things and become experts overnight. That’s not possible. As humans, we cannot learn new things at the speed of light. We have our own limitations — the capacity of information processing.
You cannot become an expert on everything overnight because expertise requires time, effort, and experience. To become truly proficient in a particular field, you must dedicate yourself to learning and practicing its principles consistently. Additionally, as the world is constantly evolving, we must continually update our knowledge and skills to stay current. Therefore, becoming an expert takes time, and we cannot rush the process.
Action Steps to Work on Personal and Professional Growth
Use these steps to implement this strategy if you really want to become an expert in your field:
- Select three subjects where you want to improve your expertise. What do you need to learn? You will probably have a large list of possible learning subjects. But, this strategy will be worthless if you quickly lose your focus. So, you must answer another question: How can this knowledge and expertise help my business? You will select the three most helpful subjects to be the first thing you will start learning.
- Break the selected three subjects into a maximum of ten topics. For example, if I want to learn about the subject related to business blogging, I will divide it into the following topics:
- how to use a blog for business purposes,
- choosing blogging platforms,
- how to create useful content,
- integration in the marketing calendar,
- how to attract readers, and
- how to manage a successful business blog.
- Break all topics into a maximum of 10 subtopics. Now you will have many “to learn” items for your entrepreneurial journey. If I take the second topic – choosing blogging platforms I will divide it into the following subtopics:
- different blogging platforms,
- pros and cons of different platforms,
- how to select the best platforms,
- features of selected platform and
- configuring the selected platform.
- Visualize what you want to learn. Visualization is the best learning approach. So, I will create a mind map to help me visualize what I need to learn (see the image below).
- Schedule time to learn new skills. Now, each day select 3-5 subtopics from the previous step and start mastering the skills that will help you grow your business.
- Networking. Attend conferences, workshops, and other networking events to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry.
I have learned new things. Now what?
Learning as learning will not help you to succeed if you don’t implement what you have learned. So, if you want to use this strategy, you will always need to have two new tasks on your to-do list from now:
- Learn one new thing today, and
- Implement one thing related to what you learned yesterday.
4. Continuous experimenting and analysis as one of the growth strategies
My whole experience in business is related to experimenting, testing, analysis, and improvement. When I think much deeper about this I can realize that this is the essence of running and managing a business.
When I started the business, I knew I needed to experiment. Simply if I don’t try, I will not know. Yes, this strategy brings me a lot of mistakes, but at the same time, a lot of experience. When a mistake becomes an experience, my business potential energy those of my business will grow exponentially.
Why You Need to Experiment and Analyse
You must continuously experiment and analyze things inside and around your business. This will allow you to stay ahead of the competition, identify new opportunities, and improve your products or services.
You can experiment with new ideas, approaches, and strategies to see what works best for your small business. Through analysis, you can review and evaluate the results of your experiments to make informed decisions about the next steps you need to take.
Action Steps for Experimenting and Analysis
Always start with a testable hypothesis with measurable goals. Then continue with the pass-and-fail criteria based on the measurable goals you set for the hypothesis. After you implement the experiment in the specified period, you will need to analyze the data to find the experiment’s results and the appropriate actions you will need to take.
To implement this strategy, follow these action steps each week:
- Develop one experiment that you want to implement next week. Start with the testable hypothesis. Set up measurable goals as results of your experiment and develop action steps you will need to take to execute the experiment.
- Start with the implementation of your business experiment. Be careful to take all action steps as you develop and plan in the previous step. Using experiments will require noting everything that you are doing if you really want to gain knowledge from the experiment.
- Analyze the results and repeat if you need. When you finish implementing your experiment, it is the right time to analyze your notes, the recorded results, and possible improvements. If the results aren’t as expected, you will probably need to change something in your action steps or input elements into your experiment and repeat the process until you reach the desired results.
5. Continuous Improvements
Before 16 years, when I started my business, I knew that if I wanted to succeed, I needed to start slow and use a continuous improvement process to achieve success. Why? Simply because I do not have enough resources to invest in my startup then. So, I need this strategy to ensure that my business slowly but surely starts to generate income and uses a continuous improvement process to improve my everyday operations.
Continuous improvement means you will need to improve your business daily with small changes. All previous growth strategies I mention here will bring this continuous improvement strategy to life. For example, when you learn one thing every day and implement it into your business operations the next day, you will improve your business. When you do experiments on a weekly level, you will also improve your business.
Why Continuous Improvement as a Growth Strategy
Continuous improvement is crucial for the growth and success of small businesses. By constantly assessing and analyzing processes and procedures, businesses can identify areas for improvement and implement changes to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and enhance overall performance.
Adapting to changing market conditions, customer needs, and technological advancement is where continuous improvement benefits small businesses, helping them expand. You can increase your small business’ efficiency and competitiveness by always looking for ways to improve operations, products, and services. In such a way, you will save costs, increase productivity, and make the customers happier.
Actions Steps for Continuous Improvement Process
So, to implement this strategy, you will need to do the following things:
- Set up a culture of continuous improvement. This means you will need to encourage all your team members to find areas that could be better and give them the tools and resources they need to make changes.
- Find what to improve. Look at your business’s processes, products, and services on a regular basis to find improvement opportunities. This can be done by getting feedback from customers, analyzing data, or doing internal audits.
- When you’ve got an idea, make a note and record it in the appropriate place as the pool of your ideas. For example, you can use Evernote for this purpose (read more on how to use Evernote to improve your business). Many tools can help you to write your ideas. I personally like an iPhone app called Drafts that enables me to send ideas when I write them in a specific Evernote notebook that I use as ideas depository.
- Look at your ideas depository each Sunday and select three for implementation the following week. To implement this step, use some priority criteria to be sure that you will choose the most important ideas for your business as the first one for implementation.
- Divide ideas into small actions that you will need to take to implement them. Ensure you will put all these actions on your to-do list for the following week. Why do you need improvement ideas if you don’t implement them?
- Implement improvements. Develop and implement solutions to improve the areas that need them. Ensure all changes are properly documented and shared with everyone who must be aware.
- Monitor and evaluate. Regularly, you need to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the improvements. This will help you determine if the changes had the desired effect.
I would say that if you are not doing any of these things, you’re already behind. As you begin to invest in growth strategies, be sure to give yourself adequate time to implement each strategy.
The most important thing you need to remember when starting your business is that it’s going to take time. Starting a business is not something you just wake up one day and go and do. It takes commitment, persistence, and lots of hard work.
Also, these growth strategies require a continuous process. You have to grow to stay relevant continually.