Growing your business can be a big challenge, particularly if you’re not sure where to begin. Like all good structures, you should start with the foundations. If you nail the foundations, you can build something strong and stable that lasts for a very long time.
So, what are the foundations for business growth? Throughout this post, we’ll discuss some of the main things you need to think about if you want to expand your company.
Understand what your aims and objectives are
Every business will have aims and objectives. Now, it may seem as though these terms are interchangeable and mean the same thing. However, there is a difference between your business aims and your business objectives:
- Your aims are what you hope to achieve; your overall goal
- Your objectives are what you need to complete to reach your aims
All successful businesses are founded on the idea of having a set of aims and objectives. You need to think about the long-term goals for your business, this will help you settle on the aims. Then, you can work backwards and think about what needs to be done to reach these targets. From here, you have your short-term objectives. It brings more structure to your company as everyone knows what needs to be done to get from here to there.
Understanding your objectives is relatively easy. The challenge is understanding your aims. You need to get this right as it can completely alter the way you run your business. Look at your business plan and think about what’s the most important thing for your company to be considered a success.
Most people think that business aims have to be financial, but that’s not the case. You could set financial aims, meaning you wish to earn a certain amount of money or reach specific profit margins by a set date. Or, you can have non-financial aims – like becoming a net zero business or being the most sustainable company in your industry.
In either scenario, you now have clear aims to reach, meaning the objectives can follow.
Understand your company mission
Next, you have to understand your company mission. Why was your company formed? This should form the background of EVERY decision you make in your business. If you don’t already have a company mission, then you need to create one. Research shows that a good mission can help improve worker engagement, leading to employees being 54% more likely to stay for over five years at your company.
Moreover, 77% of consumers buy from brands that share the same values as them. How will they know your values? It’s all down to your mission statement and the purpose of your company. Make this as clear as possible for all to see and it can benefit you greatly as you try to grow.
Therefore, your first step is identifying your mission. It can be as grand and ambitious as you like, or very simple and to the point. A company’s mission is usually very straight and to the point, explaining to everybody what your company will do for customers, employees and everyone else involved. Think about it this way: you’re describing what your business does and why you do it.
Here are a few examples of great mission statements to give you an idea of what you’re looking for:
- “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” – This is from Tesla and it is clear and explains exactly what the company’s purpose is. It makes electric vehicles and it hopes to help the world use more sustainable energy sources away from fossil fuels.
- “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” – This is the LinkedIn mission and it’s a perfect example of something very simple yet effective. It literally explains what the website does!
- “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” – This is from Amazon and it’s a good example of a slightly longer mission statement. Again, it is really clear what the purpose of the company is and what it hopes to do for its customers.
Identify what steps are needed to deliver on your mission
Once you have established your mission, you need to figure out what steps should be taken to deliver on it. There are lots of businesses out there successfully delivering on their missions. It’s no coincidence that these companies are also extremely successful.
When you have a clear mission, yet fail to deliver on it, your business is always going to struggle. So, analyse your business and identify what is preventing you from achieving your company’s mission. This can get VERY granular and involves looking at every department and understanding how they all feed into the wider company mission. Don’t worry, we’ll explain all the steps you need to take!
Identify the metrics needed to demonstrate you’re meeting the mission
Every single department in your company will feed into its mission in some way. Within each department, you have a series of areas that will need to be measured or improved on to ensure they’re contributing to the full extent that they should.
Therefore, for each department, you have to go through and figure out what it is you’ll be measuring and how it fits into the company’s wider mission. We’ve got a few examples of this down below:
- Marketing departments – Sales pipeline, brand exposure, sales figures
- IT departments – Speed of ticket resolution, development schedules
- Finance departments – Accurate financial reporting
Naturally, you have to refer back to your mission to understand exactly what you’ll be looking at within each department. You will then look at each metric and see how it is contributing to your wider mission. Is it helping you fulfil your mission statement or not? If it isn’t, what can be done to change this?
Identify how to improve these specific metrics
Even if the departments are doing a good job, you should still look to improve these specific metrics year after year. Otherwise, your company isn’t going to grow. It will just stay in the same place it’s always been, which might not be an awful situation, but it means you’re losing out on so much potential success.
Consequently, you should have a strategy for every department to figure out what can be done to raise the metrics. The next time you analyse your business, you should find fewer barriers stopping you from meeting your mission. Generally, this is one of the hardest tasks you face as a business owner. It involves liaising with every department and working together to find out what’s in their way and what might need to be done to help them contribute their full potential to the business.
This is something that can be done internally, but you may also want to bring in outside agencies or consultants. In fact, working with business consultants could be a very smart move. You’re bringing in some experts who know exactly what to look for when analysing a business. As such, they might provide a clearer view of the situation than you would. There’s a tendency to suffer from accidental bias here. It’s YOUR business, so your analysis might be extra favourable as you don’t want to acknowledge certain shortfalls or you miss particular things. Having a third party come in will eliminate this and give a more well-rounded view of everything. In the end, this could lead to better results.
Bring everything together
At this stage, you understand your aims & objectives, you have a clear mission statement and you know what must be done to deliver on your mission. Now, it’s a case of bringing everything together.
You want a business that delivers on its mission and can work towards completing short-term objectives that help it achieve an overall aim. Your aims and your mission should go hand in hand; achieving one will help you achieve the other.
Ultimately, this lays the foundations for business growth. You’ve got a clear view of everything that needs to be done to help your business move forwards. Setting these short-term objectives allows you to stay on course to meet your bigger aims. Having a mission statement reminds you of what your purpose is, but it can also help you market your brand to customers and workers.
The key is to always reflect on things as well. You’ve set all these things up, but you have to ensure that you remain on track. Internal analysis helps with this, letting you see where your company is and if you are still aligned with your mission. If you ever spot things that are making you stray from your aims, objectives or mission, you can act quickly to correct them. As such, you’ll have a company that enjoys sustainable and long-term growth.