The 6 Ingredients you must have for Growth

ingredient  photo by AGirlWithTea

What does it take to make a business grow predictably?  Signing up a big client?  Rolling out a hot new product?  Actually those are outcomes…what I’m talking about are the ingredients it takes within a business that if mixed properly and cooked just so will create growth. 

These critical ingredients are embodied in you as the business owner and within your team, whether you have 1 employee or 100 employees.  If you’re missing one or more of these ingredients – then you’re likely not growing consistently and you’ll be at risk in the long run.  The important thing is to have the right mix of these ingredients and to make sure you’re using all of them consistently.

So what are the ingredients you need for growth?  Let’s take a look:

I was inspired for this post from the book ‘The Recipe’ by Amilya Antonetti.  Amilya uses a story format to get across her point that growth and success are based on a team effort…and the right team must have the right ingredients.

I’ve mentioned before, the importance of having the Right People on the bus (they have to buy in to who you are as a business) and you need the right skills for your industry, but even deeper than that, you also need to the right mix of traits…ingredients…to make it all work.

What are the Ingredients for Growth?

Any business that wants to grow consistently and predictably will need a mix of the following:

Innovation

The world is changing fast and if you’re not changing, you will be left behind.  You may start your business with a great idea but consistent and predictable growth requires you and your team to be constantly looking for new and better ways to do things (and new and better things to do).  It’s a lot of work but the alternative is to slide into obscurity.

Ask yourself this:  As a business owner, what are you doing on a regular basis to make sure you’re innovating?  Do you have someone on the team who constantly pushes the limits on new ideas?

Motivation

Growing a business can be a real up hill slog at times and without motivation, for yourself or for your team, it can be easy to start letting things slide.  According to Dan Pink, motivation is driven by 3 main things:  Autonomy (letting people own their responsibilities), Mastery (helping people become great at what they do) and Purpose (getting people to buy into a bigger picture that means something).  A motivated team will blow away a non-motivated team…every time.

Ask yourself this:  How does your organization fare on the 3 components of the motivation model?  Are you (or a key member of the team) consciously focusing on keeping everyone positive and motivated?

Communication

It’s not enough to have great ideas and to start with a solid team, you have to constantly be working to keep everyone on the same page or the message will get lost.  A critical part of leadership is finding or developing the right message and repeating it over and over again until everyone can’t help but get it!  Of course communication is a two way street, so in addition to getting the message out, you also must listen and understand where the team is and what’s going on.

Ask yourself this:  Could everyone in your business clearly and concisely state what you’re doing (and why you’re doing it)?  Do you have regular meetings in place that foster great communication?

Research

Ask any serious marketing expert the key to great marketing and they will likely tell you ‘Measure and Tweak’.  The world is an imperfect place…and even though you may have a great idea, it could fall flat.  That’s why it’s so important to track what’s going on (measure) and continue to improve over time (tweak).  Finding and constantly researching the metrics that drive your business will put you in the driver’s seat.

Ask yourself this:  Are you measuring and reporting on the key metrics for your business every week?  Do you have the right person on the team who loves to learn why things happen?

Planning

Not only is the world moving quickly, it’s also becoming more and more complex.  There are times when you can just make it up as you go along, but that’s more likely a recipe for disaster. Laying out an achievable step by step plan on how you’re going to get to where you want to go is the best way to insure success.  Your industry and your business will dictate how complicated that planning needs to be, however some doing at least some planning is critical…as the old saying goes “Failing to plan is planning to fail!”.

Ask yourself this:  Have you laid out the top 5 things that are the most important things to do in the next 90 days?  Do you have a clear plan for achieving those goals?  Do you have the right person (or people) who can create and manage to those plans?

Implementing

A typical trap for many business owners is not following through.  There may be a ton of effort up front in coming up with a great idea, planning and communicating that idea, but without pulling the trigger and actually deciding and implementing, nothing else matters.  It’s easy to get trapped into analyzing and overthinking things…waiting for it to be perfect.  Successful businesses plan and polish, but just for a little while and then they implement!

Ask yourself this:  How many projects or great ideas do you have on a list somewhere that  you’ve never actually acted on?  Do you have the people on your team who make things happen and get things done?

Mix Well and Grow!

What traits (or ingredients) am I missing from this list?  Do you have all of these ingredients on your team?  I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

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