It’s almost universally accepted that growth in business is a good thing. For most people who go into business, growth is a defining reason why they do it. They want to be successful, they want to make their fortune.
But there isn’t one single definition of what business growth is or what it looks like. This article, for example, outlines no fewer than 14 different types of business growth.
When you strip it all back, however, you can put all these different approaches to achieving growth into two broad camps. There are those who believe the old adage that you have to speculate to accumulate – or that growth requires a certain degree of investment. Then in the other camp, there are those that believe growth is best left to happen organically and at its own pace, as a result of sound and solid business practice.
This latter view is sometimes referred to as sustainable growth. More technically, a sustainable growth rate (SGR) is that which a company can sustain ‘organically’ before having to prop up its activities with further investment. So there is in that the notion of a continuum between sustainable growth and financially leveraged growth, and a tipping point between the two. This point might be referred to as the optimum SGR – the highest rate of growth a business can achieve without, as it were, having to pay for it.
Those who advocate the pay-to-progress approach will point out that growth can go much faster and further if you invest in it. But there are risks, too – risks of overstretching yourself financially, burdening your business with debt, growing too fast and not having the foundations to sustain it.
That’s why, to many in business, hitting that optimum SGR is the ultimate growth goal – what you might call the ‘Goldilocks’ growth rate, just right for your business, sustained by its own momentum.
The question is, how do you hit this sweet spot?
Investing in expertise
An important thing to consider about taking a sustainable approach to growth is that it isn’t a quick fix. Sustainable growth is about long-term strategy and incremental wins. It’s about being business savvy and leveraging expertise in areas such as market development and penetration, product development, branding and marketing, business diversification and more.
That all adds up to a lot of business expertise. The kind of expertise that comes with years of experience. And when you have grown to the point of being able to employ specialists to operate dedicated teams in all these different areas. Not something you necessarily have at the start of your journey.
This sounds like being caught between a rock and a hard place. You want to grow your business in a controlled, sensible, sustainable manner. But to do so you need time and expertise. But developing the required expertise also takes time. What do you do? Give up on your SGR ambitions and start looking to raise capital to throw at growth?
There’s one area of investment that makes sound sense for implementing any sustainable growth strategy. If you don’t feel you have the deep understanding of market dynamics, strategic planning, and proactive decision-making to achieve your optimum SGR within a suitable timeframe, seek out someone who does – a business advisory specialist.
With a professional grounding in the financial mechanics that make the business world go round, business advisors specialise in areas such as strategic business planning, financial forecasting, risk management and profitability enhancement that contribute significantly to driving growth in the long term. If there’s one investment that really pays to help leverage sustainable growth, it’s drawing on the knowledge and insight of an experienced and trusted business advisor.