What's Holding Your Business Back?

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Thanks for clicking on my inaugural blog with Inc.com. I co-founded Applied Knowledge Labs, a consulting firm that helps small companies maintain sustainable growth, and my goal, with this blog, is to be your growth coach. Instead of a typical blog, view each of my posts as a running conversation with me, your virtual Chief Growth Officer.

So unlike those that have been squeezed by the current economy, your market has been growing at let's say 10 percent and you've experienced around 5 percent growth so far this year, but you projected at least 15 percent growth. So what are the problems and how do you close the gap in the next 3.5 months?"

Well first you have to ask yourself some serious questions. There exists only two primary constraints on growth; everything else is part of these two. Constraint One: the business is experiencing a CAPACITY problem and simply cannot do more under present conditions, making increased sales suicide. Constraint Two: the business is experiencing a SALES problem that is idling production, affecting revenue, and collapsing margins.

Which constraint is holding back your business? Like products, businesses have life cycles that drive specific opportunities and/or create obstacles to growth. Are you in the 'Go-Live Stage' where the business idea is being brought to market, the focus is on selling, and the goal is sufficient and predictable cash flow?"

Or is the business to the point where you are re-examining the original mission and what has been learned from testing the idea in the marketplace; or are you at the point of growing the business through outsourcing to increase sales or capacity?

Your answer to these questions will determine which problems we address first, and what the right decision will look like. Here is where we start.

In my next post we'll discuss the end game as an owner. Take my End Game Poll at Solopreneur. Your choices will set the agenda for future posts.

Last updated: Nov 10, 2008




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