Every business needs to grow: it is virtually impossible to stand still, so if you’re not growing, you’re probably contracting, which is not a good place to be.
Growth, though, brings problems too. You may well have a successful business that has survived for several years and made consistent profits, while it has grown steadily.
There comes a point, however, when the things that made you successful in the first few years are no longer appropriate. In particular, the systems and processes that sustained a smaller business may not operate quite so efficiently in a bigger business model. Perhaps you are starting to experience delivery failures, quality issues, the occasional customer complaint.
And if you start to undergo rapid growth (maybe you’ve won a couple of major contracts that have doubled your business overnight), all of a sudden that overdraft you negotiated with the bank a few years back is no longer enough to finance the growing business’s needs. And perhaps the bank isn’t quite as sympathetic to your revised requirements as you’d expect and hope.
So organic growth may be about marketing and sales (it usually is); but it can also mean reappraising the whole business structure for the future. And growth opportunities can also come from other sources:
New business initiatives based on new products or services; or opening offices in new geographies; or licensing or franchising your offering; or acquiring businesses that allow you to do any of the foregoing. Each of these is dealt with in more detail in other sections of this site.
If you don’t have a Board of Directors with a variety of skills and experience to help you, it can be a mighty lonely place, making all those decisions – for better or worse.
Having a sympathetic ear can be a useful tool on its own. If that ear has itself already experienced many of the same growing pains, the value increases exponentially.
It’s not so much having someone telling you what to do; rather it’s having someone to ask the pertinent (and sometimes impertinent) questions; someone to bounce ideas off – an objective opinion with no axe to grind; someone with a few ideas of their own (and who is not afraid to express them!)
As well as the marketing knowledge to grow sales in a conventional sense.