Businessmen Looking at Graph

What’s your growth strategy? (If you’re reading this, I hope it’s whale hunting.) What are you employing to take your business to the next level? Whatever your strategy or tactics, I think it really all starts with a “think big” mentality/philosophy. You have to first embrace a philosophy of growth before you start work on anything else. Some recent conversations have left me convinced some businesses don’t want to grow. Or, rather, their fear of change is bigger than the desire for growth. Now is not the time to be afraid of the future.

I’d invite you to take 15 minutes out of your day and listen to The Hoy Grail of Continuous Growth. It’s an HBR ideacast featuring Paul Nunes, executive director of research at the Accenture Institute for High Performance.  In the podcast, Paul states that only 7% of businesses recover from a stall in growth.  Almost all businesses that stall will take a nose dive or wither on the vine. Make sure that’s not you!

Just about a year ago, Darren Dahl wrote “How to Develop a Business Growth Strategy.” In the article, he cites a statistic that one-tenth of 1 percent of companies will ever reach $250 million in annual revenue.  Now, we love small business, but nobody wants their revenues to stay small (or stall!). Isn’t it really all about getting to the next level? Let’s talk about growth.

1.       Get Your Head Around It:  As I said earlier, I believe the first step to growth is being hungry for it. You must want to get there and overcome any fear of change that might hold back you and your team. Here at The Whale Hunters, we talk about why the Inuit people hunted whales…and the No. 1 reason is that, they were hungry!

2.       Have a Plan: In the article cited above, Darren offers a bunch of growth strategies. He lists a lot of the strategies you’ve heard before:  Market Penetration, Product Development, Acquisitions, Mergers. All are fine strategies; however, if you’re a small business looking to grow fast with little investment up front and with your team on board, then whale hunting is a growth strategy for you!

3.       Start Now:  In the beginning of the interview with HBR, Paul Nunes remarks that you need to plan for growth long before you’re ready. Before you reach the limits of your current business, you need to be thinking and planning for the next stage of your business. Take the plan for growth you’ve formulated in step 2 and get going. Don’t wait to be “ready.” I’ve always loved the philosophy, “begin with the end in mind.” It’s the same thing.

I’ll leave you with another recommendation to watch (if you haven’t before) Fast Company’s 30 Second MBA on Growth. Click here to view short snippets from entrepreneurs and business owners. One of the themes throughout these videos is that you can’t just want to grow and focus on growth. In order to drive growth, be smart about running your business and enable innovation. To get started, consider my three earlier points.   A good growth strategy will leverage the existing excellence in your organization and take it to the next level.