Originally published on Chief Outsiders

If you don’t believe that consistent, profitable business growth is a need of virtually every small- and mid-sized business, and especially for yours, you probably won’t get value from this article.

The real challenges aren’t understanding the value of growth to your business–they are about determining where your best growth opportunities are, prioritizing across multiple potential growth opportunities, integrating both shorter- and longer-term growth opportunities into your management processes, and organizing for success and building an ability to tap into new revenue streams consistently and over multiple years.

When someone says “the devil is in the details,” they might be describing a series of growth challenges. Business growth goals—and when we say “growth,” we are ALWAYS referring to PROFITABLE growth–are familiar to every company doing annual operating or strategic planning. Neither of us have ever been part of a corporate environment where a growth goal was stated “Let’s shrink our business 10% next year.” What differentiates one business from another is how effectively small- and mid-sized businesses implement and support growth initiatives consistently over time.

There has been a fun buzzword going around for the last five years: “future proofing.” Can you “future-proof” future growth? Maybe and maybe not. Here’s a good argumentfor and against the thought.

The concept may be attractive, but is it really possible? Our belief, based on helping hundreds of companies with growth planning, is that while there are no guarantees, there are many best practices to build on to give your business the best possible chances for success. Isn’t that what stakeholders and boards ask for? “Give us a plan that we can believe in!” they often say. Your job as a CEO, or VP Marketing, or COO, or CFO is to do exactly that.

Getting Started: How’s Your Growth Engine Today?

Let’s do a quick self-assessment of where you are on your growth journey today. Take a minute to honestly answer these ten questions. Score each question “0-3,” and give yourself three (3) points if you can confidently answer “Yes” to each question…

___ You have a defined plan to build new revenue and profit streams over a 3-5-year period

___ You have a defined process to monitor changing market conditions and modify growth strategies

___ You and your team regularly spend time checking the progress of your growth initiatives

___ You have someone or a team responsibility and accountability to drive growth beyond this year’s plan

___ You have an identified working list, or portfolio, of growth opportunities

___ Your growth opportunities have been prioritized using a consistent scorecard

___ You have defined specific financial benefits and projected returns for each growth opportunity

___ You understand the investments and resources required to build out new profitable revenue streams

___ You have the right resources and culture to implement your growth strategies

___ You feel confident in your approach to growth and your ability to achieve your growth goals



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