Trying to figure out the economy is not easy! Even those that are a lot smarter than I am and make a living by studying the trends of the market will differ in opinions and projections. And trying to make sense of the stock markets – good luck there! As soon as you hear some really strong economic reports coming out, the markets will be dropping by 30, 40 or 50 points. The very next day with seemingly bad news, they will rebound and even surpass the previous high – go figure. Then there is the whole European debt crisis – we hear one day that agreements have been reached, then within a week the news will again talk of the impending failure.
All of this uncertainty makes it extremely hard to keep momentum going within the world of small business. For the last couple of years, we would see some upward trends and have reason for optimism, only to hear of lower than expected job growth – which only causes business leaders hesitation when making expansion plans of their own. It can be very frustrating to say the least, and yet for those who have a clear goal and a commitment to developing new business, these times can still provide potential.
It is not uncommon to read or talk with business owners that have bucked the trends with double-digit growth – even in the last few years. Opportunities exist within new growth markets. Innovation and a willingness to explore changing technologies can prove successful. Paying attention to details and streamlining production processes can increase profits. Setting specific sales goals can help inspire employees. Documenting and celebrating the achievements will help feed the continued success. However, none of this will happen unless you chose to be proactive in planning for growth!
At some point we as business owners need to get out of the mindset of “pulling back” or “cutting expenses.” Instead we need to explore ways to grow our businesses again. That might even mean making an investment in new equipment, marketing strategies, sales people or production people with a specific goal in mind. If you could expand in a new market to achieve X number of sales revenue, and it would cost X number of dollars to do this, what would the payoff be? Would you need to add people to achieve this? How about your marketing efforts to promote this market – what new media forms might make sense? Once you begin to see some sales revenue, how about the production workforce – will this require new hires? I realize this might not be something we have thought much about lately, but then again, what could the ultimate effect on the bottom line be if we were to increase the top line by 10%?
Think about it… there is no time like the present to get started on a growth strategy. Or to borrow a marketing phrase from Nike, just do it!