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Why Growth Is Not The Cure For All Business Ailments

In all the surveys we’ve done of clients of professional services firms, when we ask, “What are your biggest strategic issues,” growth always appears to be at the top of the list.

Growth could come from a variety of avenues. It could be organic. It could come from mergers and acquisitions. It could be as the result of new products or new services. And in all its various forms, it’s usually accompanied by an obsession with growing faster than the competition.

So it’s normal for growth to be top-of-mind for management. In fact, it may seem like a lot of the challenges you might encounter as a business will go away if you can just grow faster.

Yet, that’s not always true. Far from it.

Growing faster is not the answer to all your business problems.

Many times, growing faster actually creates a problem!

Let’s do a quick self-check of your business at this very moment. At Value Drivers, we’ve found any successful business needs to have at least the following:

  • Processes, systems and controls in place that sustain the business

  • A well-defined, written plan

  • Stable, committed management team

  • Diverse customer base

What if any of these aspects are missing and you double your growth? The company could be in trouble. The stage is set for the business to grow rapidly but without a team to manage it or processes to deal with it.

In such a scenario, your problems aren’t being solved by growth – they’re actually being made worse. Even if you receive more business from an existing client or industry.

More isn’t necessarily better.

Let’s Align Better Numbers With Happiness

I know it feels like a conflicting situation to look at your favorable balance sheet and feel emotional distress at the same time. But that’s typically what happens when your growth is out of alignment with your other areas of need.

What are some ways we can begin to uncover those areas and address them better? Ask yourself a couple questions:

  • Are you spending too much time working “in the business” and not “on the business?”

  • How much do you enjoy the things you’re doing right now? Do you have a sense that you’d be happier if you could get back to some of the things you were doing when you started?

The next step is to make a list with two columns: On one side, list all the essential things in the business you enjoy doing. On the other side, list all the essential things you don’t enjoy doing.

Of those items you don’t enjoy doing, why do you have to perform them? Delegate as many as you can of those! Why torment yourself? Yes, when you’re in the very beginning of a business, a few people can wear many different hats. But as you become more successful, success can breed a new era of complexity – complexity you may not have ever experienced until now. Assuming yours is a company that has reached enough mass to delegate tasks or have the resources to hire the kind of people who can help take items you don’t like off your plate…why would you continue to do the things you don’t enjoy?

Delegation frees up time to focus on the things you enjoy doing or get away from the office. That’s a matter of finding the comfort and time to delegate to the best resources.

For example, I knew one executive of a $40 million business who was CEO, CMO, CFO and CIO! Well, with that many titles, of course he felt overwhelmed! However, while you might assume from this that he had a real phobia of delegating, I don’t believe that was the primary issue as much as that it was he couldn’t find the time to properly delegate. A lot of managers get stuck and frustrated at this point too.

Where Do You Begin? With Much Clearer Priorities.

The strategic business assessment from Value Drivers can help create a more prioritized list of strategic imperatives for you. For example, you may very well discover that hiring a sales force is actually much lower on your priority list than creating a marketing and sales plan and hiring a leader who can be held accountable for that plan.

This process helps managers literally Move the Needle℠ with a roadmap of objectives, goals and concrete steps to move forward and gain buy-in from up, down and across the organization. In 4-5 months, you’ll have a structured plan you can use for at least the next 3 years. How’s that for a smart return on your investment? There are tough choices to be made on what you’ll stop, start and continue as well but you’ll never be making them alone. Contact Value Drivers today to learn more at 312.827.2643.

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