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Starting a business is never easy, and there is a lot to keep in mind when growing your business.  One of the best ways to do this is by taking a sustainable approach to growth, and making moves with intention.

What is Sustainable Growth?

We’ve all heard of sustainability before, but how does that relate to business?  Sustainable means a business has the ability to maintain a certain level of growth.  They aren’t scaling too quickly, nor are they building so slow they can’t turn a profit.

Too many times when we think about growing a business, we think of climbing the ladders of financial success as quickly as possible.  While it’s great to find quick success, it isn’t always a good thing.

Sustainable growth is growing strong but steady.  It’s choosing to lay out a foundation for your business to grow on so it doesn’t crumble. Instead of quickly putting up a few walls that can fall over in the wind.  It’s knowing that taking your time isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, it can lead to bigger growth in the long run. Sustainable grow is growing at the perfect pace for your businesses, and it will not look the same for everyone. 

What’s Wrong With Growing Quickly?

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with growing quickly.  We all want to find success and find it as quickly as possible.  After all, we tend to think of quick success as a sign that our business or ideas are a sign of long term success, but it cannot be the only factor. 

This doesn’t mean that you should try and build your business slowly.  It’s not about slowing down, but it is about putting thought and effort into the right places at the right time so you don’t have to go back and fix your mistakes later.

The definition of sustainable growth is “the realistically achievable growth that a company or national economy could maintain without running into problems.” This can also mean maximizing your available resources without going into debt and increasing your leverage. There isn’t a speed requirement to this, it all depends on the availability of resources that you have, your industry, and your own willingness and dedication to taking appropriate actions to produce specific results. 

Characteristics of Building a Sustainable Business

Purpose

A sustainable business has a clear purpose, and knows their purpose well.  It doesn’t try to be what it’s not just to fit in, or to appease a trend.  It doesn’t mean you can’t evolve as a business and try new things.  But you never lose sight of why you created the business in the first place. Your business also aligns your goals, direction, processes, along with your products and services with this purpose. 

Identity

Similar to purpose, a business’ identity is integral to its growth.  Sustainable businesses have an identity that speaks to their ideal consumers, and doesn’t deviate from that.  Trying to be everything for everyone just to make more money may seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t lead to long term growth and success.  If you try to make everyone happy, you usually end up disappointing them instead. Knowing the marketplace, and how your business fits or doesnt fit here can dramatically impact your ability to grow. 

Intention

When it comes to successful businesses, intention is key.  Every decision you make should have a meaning, and be useful to the overall betterment of your company.  Moving with intention gives you the chance to evaluate every step, and to determine if the steps you want to take are what is the best for your business.  It keeps you accountable and focused.  When you are clear on your intentions you can also look at the big picture and be clear on how the smaller steps and things you do now are influencing how you achieve and reach your purpose. 

How to Plan and Maintain Sustainable Business Growth

What does a sustainable business model look like, and how do you know your business is implementing this?

While there isn’t a clear cut way to grow a business, there are some things you can do to help keep your business growing at a sustainable rate.

Focus on Retention

When trying to grow your business, a lot of times entrepreneurs focus their attention on getting new customers.  While this is essential, it’s also important to focus on retaining your existing customers.  By keeping them happy, you will find your business expanding instead of losing customers and replacing them. It is always easier to build upon an existing relationship than to create a new relationship.

Be Loyal to Your Employees

While most employees no longer stay at a job for their whole career, employees will stick around much longer for a position they love at a company they believe in.

When you find hard working and loyal employees, it’s important to prove your loyalty to them as well.  Treat them well, create an environment where they can play together as a team, and authentically build trust with them, show them that you care about them, both as individuals and as assets to your company.  By putting your employees first, they will feel valued and appreciated, and will work hard to ensure the success of your company.

Be Open to Change, but Don’t Force It

As they say, don’t fix what isn’t broken.  Some things will need to change as your business grows, but that doesn’t mean everything will.  It’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to change when you need to, but make sure it’s a change that will benefit everyone involved.  If it doesn’t end up working, however, don’t force it.  It’s ok to try new things and then decide it isn’t right for your company. Take the time to look at the details, and how it influences your overall purpose, and if it is aligned. 

Keep Yourself Informed

Trends are a huge part of any industry.  And while it’s good to not get sucked into every trend, it’s also good to keep yourself informed of them.  Industries do change, and sometimes trends are here to stay.  It’s good to be able to discern which trends are fads and which ones are forever, and be willing to adjust your business model to keep up with the competition.

Just remember, whatever you decide to do, do it with intention.  Make sure it’s what is truly best for you and your business, and not what others are doing or saying you should do.  At the end of the day, you are responsible for your company and in charge of its success. The way you work with your team can also influence and you can entrust your leaders to help you build and create a sustainable business. 

Here at Biz to Biz, we believe that building a business in a sustainable and intentional way is the best way to ensure it grows to its full potential.  We understand that starting a new business can be difficult, and we know that it is often a path that many people in your life won’t understand.

That’s why we are a firm believer in the power of referrals and networking, particularly in the form of networking groups.  We believe you don’t have to build a successful business alone, and it’s best to walk the path with others going down the same road.

If you are new to business or to networking, and are interested in learning more about joining a networking group or building a networking group using the Biz to Biz strategy we would love to talk with you. 

Learn more about our groups here > 

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