Let’s talk about business growth for second. Growing your business has become one of those cliché phases in the world of business. Everyone says they want their business to be bigger, faster and stronger but when you cut right to the bone, very few people are taking the necessary steps to actually grow their business.
Inc. puts out its annual Inc. 5000 list of the 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States. In the most recent version of this list a business named ALL4 ranked 5000th on that list with 34% growth over 3 years. Over 3 years they increased their revenue from $3.5 million to $4.7 million and they added 9 jobs.
Looking at ALL4’s growth numbers got me thinking: Those numbers are more than respectable but increasing revenue by 9% and adding 3 employees per year is not mind blowing. So where are all these business owners that are growing their businesses? It would seem that if business owners really wanted to grow their company there should be more than 5000 businesses that are hitting these growth numbers.
RISK IT ALL
Now that we have talked about business growth, let’s get honest with ourselves. While you as a business owner love to talk about growth, in reality you don’t want it because it scares you. You have built a nice business. Things are stable and you are living a comfortable life. You are not looking to grow but rather you are looking to maintain. Keep the status quo and not take on the risk of the unknown. And there is nothing wrong with that. But I am here to tell you that you can have it all. You can risk it all and still sleep well at night knowing that your business is not going to fail.
At some point in your life something clicked inside of you. You had a business idea or you saw a way to do it better. You took a big leap and started your business. You saw real growth and built your business to the point it is now. So why stop that growth now? Why not tap back into that innovative and entrepreneurial side of yourself again and continue to build?
There are any number of steps that can be taken to allow you to truly grow your business but not take on all the risk that you believe is out there. You can put processes in place that help protect your current business and ensure that it operates as planned. Once that core business is locked down, you can venture into new territories slowly.
Buying an existing business or product line gives you insight into potential new revenues as well as potential hurdles before taking it on. If buying the business or product line is too much, a management agreement or licensing agreement that allows you to try it before you buy it. Generally with those agreements, the price you pay comes out of the income produced during your time in control so there isn’t a ton of financial investment.
Joint ventures or strategic partnerships are grossly underutilized agreements and business relationships to help spur growth. Essentially you can have someone else or another business come in and handle a portion of the heavy lifting until it becomes financially viable for your business to take over.
Putting the right agreements in place or separating business entities are some other ways to eliminate the amount of risk you take on. The options abound as to what can be done to protect yourself and your current business. Speaking with a business attorney that can not only see your vision of growth but can help strategize with you on how to get there can help give you some more specific ideas about what can be done.
With an estimated 30 million small businesses in the United States, that means there are a lot of businesses owners that talk about growing that are not doing a lot of growing if ALL4 is the bar for top growing companies in the United States. And this is by no means a knock on ALL4 because they are out there doing it and most everyone else is not. So why have you not joined ALL4 among the fastest growing companies in the United States? Maybe it’s time you risked it all.
Source: "Inc. 5000 for 2013" by Inc.com