18 Dimensions of Small Business Growth

I recently decided to formally launch a part-time small business coaching service. The activity isn’t new – I’ve been helping small businesses for a long time – but formally identifying myself as a small biz coach is new. As I was revamping my website, I wrote”Welcome. Let’s get started growing your business” prominently on the front page. I liked the sound of it – a confident, concise call to action. Call it good and move on, right? Well not so fast..

I was thinking about the phrase during a long drive home from Minneapolis last night. “Growing what?” is what kept going through my mind. A business can be measured by many different dimensions. As the farmsteads and wind turbines slid across the gray October sky, I started listing off them off.


We could grow your financials..

I suspect most people would first think about growth in financial terms. But are we talking sales growth? Revenue growth (Often the same as sales growth, but not always.)? Gross margin growth (as percentage or dollars)? Net margin growth (as percentage or dollars)? Maybe an owner is more interested in growing something on the balance sheet. Equity growth? Working capital growth? Cash flow growth?


We could grow other aspects of your business, too…

I think it’s safe to say that many small business owners care about other things in addition to the financials. We could grow employee count. Or customer count. Social impact may be important – which could take several forms: Facebook friends or Twitter followers; number of charities supported; or total economic impact to the community. Or maybe growing total floor space is appealing. We could look at geographic growth – expanding into more regions, states, countries – or growing office/facility count. Growing the portfolio of products (or services) offered may be desirable.


So what’s the point?

The point is: the phrase “I want to grow my business” begs for more detail. It’s the beginning of a conversation, not the end. It’s the prologue – an opportunity to learn what’s important, and why, before getting down to the “how?”. It’s an invitation.


Have you thought about it? What do you want to grow in your business? Why do you want to grow it?


I’m interested in your answers. Here’s your invitation to share your comments and begin the conversation…

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