Does every business have to grow to survive? There are 2 answers to this question. Growth when it means expansion, is not necessary for every business; indeed, it may be the downfall of the business, especially if the growth is mismanaged. But growth, when it means adaptation or rejuvenation, is essential for the ongoing health of any small business. No one can afford to simply rest on previous successes.
Ask yourself this question. "What kind of growth do I want to aim for at this time in the life of my business, knowing that I can shift this aim later?" Your answer will depend upon a careful examination of your present circumstances and your motivation for seeking change.
Growing your business can be hazardous to your health and your wealth. It's a good idea to examine your fears about what could go wrong.
Fear of Failure: Are you afraid that you aren't up to the challenge? Will growth keep you awake at night, anxious about losing everything you have gained? Are you worried what others will think if you fail?
Fear of Success: Are you scared that success will change you and turn you into a different person? Are you worried about the impact of success on your family? Do you believe you don't really deserve success?
Fear of Responsibility: Are you anxious about taking on more employees and being responsible for their livelihood? Do you have the courage to make tough decisions about hiring and firing?
Fear of Losing Control: Are you frightened by the thought of delegating tasks to other staff or outsourcing, handing over equity to finance expansion or leaving quality control in the hands of others?
Also consider what will happen if you do not grow. Will other opportunities be available again? Will opportunities be better in the future than they are now? Will your competitors grow even if you do not?
If you opt for growth, you can expand your business without a plan, making changes piecemeal using trial and error, but this approach is laden with dangers. Small business owners all too frequently abandon the practice of planning once they are through their start-up phase. They forget to update their business plan, ignoring the need to review the fundamentals of their business performance regularly and to set new goals. But, if your business is truly to thrive, you will need to work strategically as it is the single most important managerial task of any company that wants to influence its future.
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