10 Cardinal Rules for Business Growth

After over 30 years of participating in hundreds of businesses,
competing in at least as many different industries, with
companies marketing both products and services, you begin to
develop and accumulate some fundamental businesses axioms or
“rules of thumb” that seem to make more sense everyday and gain
more value in business practice as your career continues to
advance and evolve.

You like to think what you have learned and the business
knowledge you have retained along your long and varied career
path is unique, proprietary, or even “original”, but somewhere
deep inside you know that most of the things you hold near and
dear to your own business self identity probably were already
developed, practiced, and taught way before you ever entered
your first business conference room.

You sincerely hope that attempting to document your “Cardinal
Rules for Business Growth” in an article of this nature will
somehow make sense to other business people, or better yet,
your written contributions get added to other’s own personal
list of business do’s and don’ts.

Ultimately a business must sustain itself with profits to
continue its legacy. Without consistent sales revenues and
reasonable expense control it eventually makes little
difference what else you may attempt do to continue to advance
the future of the enterprise. Businesses need to grow because
those that are risking their hard earned investment in the
business logically expect a reasonable return on that capital.

The simple reality of business is, if there is not a reasonable
return on money invested in a company, it makes more financial
sense to put that same money in a fixed, guaranteed return
paper investment. Never again would you have to worry that your
competition is about to make your entire product line obsolete!

Before we get into my list of Cardinal Rules of Business Growth,
it is most appropriate to acknowledge two fundamental business
assumptions that relate to this list: 1) businesses are made up
of people, working together for a common cause, existing by
focusing on solving other people’s problems, namely “the
customer” 2) No matter how “good” you think you are, how
effective your team is and how much of the targeted markets you
have cornered, there is, and always will be, another company
attempting to do what you do “better”, cheaper, and more
consistently than you ever thought. Your ultimate goal is to
delay that from happening!

A “for profit” company must have a plan and a clearly defined
strategy, made up of tactics to achieve desired results. This
article will focus on tactical efforts one should consider, in
one form or another, to maximize the probability of continued,
profitable growth.

A very successful business mentor of mine once told me, “If it
is important enough to throw money at, it is important enough
to write down in black and white”… so if you have a business
plan, a business strategy and a few tactics to pull it off, be
sure to write them down! At least you have a fighting chance to
improve upon the matter at hand if it is written. Thoughts,
concepts and ideas are difficult to improve upon otherwise!

Proven Tactics for Business Growth:

Give priority to new product or service development:
Always seek ways to improve what you have to offer and develop
means to obsolete your own products or services before someone
else does

Find new applications for existing products or services:
Be sure to establish a communication means between your company
and your product / service users to determine how they really
use your products. Offering a financial incentive to “surface”
news applications helps too!

The “easiest” sale of them all:

You have already spent the money to acquire your customers and
build a relationships with them, why not ask what else can you
make or provide for them?

Know where to get all the answers:

ALL the answers about how your company is doing, where it
should go and what it should stop doing, reside within your
own customer base. Just ask!

“Buy” rather than “Build”:

Take a good look at your targeted industry. There usually is a
resourced limited company who offers viable products and
services that relate to yours. Consider buying them versus
investing the same money in an “organic” growth alternative.

Think “out of boundaries”!

If you just focus on US markets, someday you will find your
company can no longer effectively compete because someone else
beat you to the global market game board, the board the
business game of tomorrow will be played on

Go “E Commerce”!

Establish an effective means, via the Internet, for your
customers to educate and update themselves, solve their own
problems and order your products with a few clicks of a
computer mouse

Know when to say “No” and “Stop”!

The most effective business leaders know when to say “no” and
when to say “stop”! Making or doing something that no longer
makes financial sense needs to be dealt with decisively, no
matter the, “We have always made those” , “We have always sold
those” or “We have always done it that way” commentary.

Measure and publish everything:

Business practices can only be improved upon if they are
written, measured, tracked and periodically audited for
effectiveness. All results justify being shared with all
employees, good or bad. Always celebrate success publicly,
criticize poor performance privately.

There is always a price to pay for business growth. The process
is always laden with mistakes, unexpected surprises,
opportunities to learn new things, always offering “another
chance” for future growth opportunities. There is no clear
roadmap on how to best grow your company, each company has its
own growth challenges.

Hopefully these “Cardinal Rules for Business Growth ” stimulated
some creative thought to make your business growth tactics that
much more effective. In today’s global business environment the
competitive edge we strive for gets thinner every day, growth
is the price we pay to maintain that edge.