Growing is something every business has to do. If you’re not proactively reaching out to new customers or clients, making sure your marketing is up to date and presenting your brand in the best possible light and you’re offering products that serve the needs of the current market, then you run the risk of being outcompeted by other businesses that have a stronger vision for the future. First you’ll notice you’re not seeing new customers coming in, and this will be followed by a drop off in the numbers of your loyal customer base. Your revenue stream will dry up, and it can take a dramatic reinvention to put you back on top.
You can avoid the need for such disaster scenarios by planning for safe, sustainable growth in your business from the beginning. Sustainable is an important word here: if you try to grow to large, too quickly, or in a way that’s not compatible with your business, the risks can overshadow the reward. If you spend too much on new premises and new staff, the cost may overbalance your business before they have the chance to start earning back that investment.
New product development is another area that can have big rewards, at the cost of big risks. A new product that embodies the values of your brand can get your existing customers to spend more with you even as it also draws in more new browsers to your brand for the first time.
The dark side of this success is that if your product flops – if it fails to find an audience and repay its development costs, then you face a penalty that’s more than just financial. There’s also the risk that you will damage your reputation: a failed product can alienate you from your core audience, and make you look profligate with money, and inexpert with your own brand!
Sustainable growth means costing out the financial and reputational risks of your plans, and making sure you don’t overextend your core business. Until you begin to see a profit from your new venture, it’ll be your established assets, be they a popular bricks and mortar location, or a product line you know customers love. Make sure the cost of expansion – either directly or in repaid investment – doesn’t drain your revenue stream faster than you can earn to ensure that you can grow and see success in the long term, not burn brightly, then burn out.