What does it mean to grow your business in the 21st century?
Entrepreneurs tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how to get started and how they want their companies to look when they're "successful"—whether that’s a big office or dozens of employees. They spend less time thinking about what trajectory is right for the company. Real growth is about making sure your business fulfills more desires—your customers' and your own—while requiring less effort from you.
If growth is a goal for 2013—and we’re pretty sure it is—consider these three questions to get your strategic juices flowing.
What has worked in the past?
Grow your revenue, reach or impact by building on your company’s strengths. Turn a successful program into a book, a store into a franchise, a product into a collection. Think about how you can create a plan that doubles down on a win.
What would you love to spend less time on?
When you started your business, you likely lacked the foresight to create systems that would reduce your workload. This year, invest in automating something that takes up your creative/growth thinking time, so you can focus on creating more opportunities. Think scheduling, content creation, customer service or lead generation.
Would you rather go deeper or wider?
Businesses can scale in one of two ways: either they can impact more customers or they can make a greater impact on the people they're already serving. All too often, businesses try to bounce back and forth between these two objectives. This year, know whether you're aiming for deeper or wider impact and plan accordingly.
Tara Gentile is a business strategist for entrepreneurs who make a difference through commerce. She's the author of The Art of Growth, a New Economy guide to maximizing your impact and minimizing your effort in business.