What is one reason you could give a business owner for why a business has to grow?
Don't explain, just list a thought... I did a training presentation recently on Creating Growth Mindsets for Business and started it with the question above. Avoiding cliches (grow or die), we brainstormed answers. There were so many but with such a great wealth of biz brains here, I thought it could be a great resource to Business Owners to have our community share 1 simple insight each on a briefly stated reason a business must plan/prepare/act to grow. (Please list 1, don't lecture) So many small business struggle with this, or struggle to give it meaning, I thought your thoughts could add inspiration...
Focusing on growth will lead you to the ultimate point of having a business. Generating a profit with or without your involvement.
I'll give you three:
1) Inflation. If you stay static, you're losing ground.
2) Competition. If you're not growing, someone else is probably going to destroy your distinctive competence.
3) Churn. You will lose customers. It's a better hedge to be trying to grow than trying to stay static.
And a counter-example:
Lifestyle businesses are just fine for the proprietor. If you are making enough money and you have time for other things you love, why should you listen to a bunch of people who say you're wrong for not growing?
It's personal! Growth is an objective indicator of success. Success breeds confidence and confidence breeds even more success...
I don't think a business has to grow.
Let me explain.
Your use of 'Growth Mindset' harkens to the work of Carol Dweck, and certainly in people, a Growth Mindset is a strong underpinning for log term success, personal development, and achieving big goals.
But the usual meaning of growth in business terms is 'getting bigger' - more turnover, more profit, more staff, more success.
But for many people, stable lifestyle of plenty can be enough. The need for growth sometimes (yes, I said sometimes, before anyone accuses me f over-genralising) arises from greed - the need for more and a failure to recognise success... enough.
A business does not *need to grow. It needs to stay solvent, to treat its stakeholders with respect, and to act with integrity. There is no harm in one business growing... or one million.
But remember this, as businesses grow, they use more resources. At some point, if economies continue to grow, the resource utilisation will exceed the capacity of our finite planet to continue to meet the demand.
If our species successfully navigates some of the huge challenges facing us in the 21st century (many related to resources such as energy, water, and rare-earth metals) then weaning ourselves off growth, or finding new capacity beyond Earth are likely to be the challenges for our 22nd Century great great great grandchildren.
Not quite the answer you were after, I suspect.
I'm reminded of a quote from a great Hockey player, Wayne Gretzky: "Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."
In business, as a leader, you need to have a vision of where your 'puck' (your business) is going to need to be. Investing in smart, strategic growth means that you'll be able to take the right shots for the long term. Be that creating a lifestyle, a legacy or making a great exit.
Nothing stays the same -- either plan to grow or expect to shrink.
If you are not rowing there is something wrong with your business model.
The Goal of any business is to be an increasingly successful company which cannot be achieved without growth.
If it doesn't grow, you likely are not sufficiently leveraging being an independent business owner ... and you might as well work for the man!