Running a successful company makes a difference in the world. All leaders want growth, but there’s a right and wrong way to achieve it. Too often, pursuing rapid wealth and quick gains leads to unintended consequences that can damage or even destroy enterprises.
A long-term growth strategy encourages positive public relations and fulfills organizational visions while adding value to local communities. Here are nine ways to grow a business the right way, making it a place where people are proud to work and conduct commerce.
1. Inspire the next generation
Leaders want their organizations to continue beyond their departure, which means needing skilled, trustworthy staff. One of the best ways to grow a pool of qualified employees is to engage the next generation, exciting them about working for a specific enterprise.
How can businesses get started? It’s as easy as checking with local high schools about their next planned career fair and signing up to present at the event.
Some companies partner with trade schools to provide internships and apprenticeships for students who already demonstrate a strong interest in a specific field. Many who start in such roles go on to join the workforce where they train. The organization benefits from an employee who’s already familiar with processes and in whose aptitude their managers feel confident.
2. Cultivate energy independence
Smart growth encompasses business assets, not only its workforce. Sustainability is a must and investing in solutions such as net-zero energy buildings for new structures ensures ongoing viability. Consider these benefits:
- Fewer future costs: As climate change efforts intensify, expect governments to pass new regulations. Upgrading later could increase costs.
- Greater independence: Net-zero energy buildings produce all the power they need to operate — sometimes more. While other businesses will need to pause operations if the grid goes down, these continue operations as usual.
- Fewer operational costs: Net-zero energy buildings are extremely efficient, saving a fortune on utilities.
3. Focus on UX
Online shopping has made some things easier and others more difficult for consumers. For example, nearly everyone has experienced buying something online that doesn’t work as intended, comes with few or indecipherable instructions, and offers no customer service contact information. Such customers get angry and feel cheated out of their money, perhaps sharing their frustrations in reviews or on social media.
Therefore, focus on improving the user experience. For example, what options do customers have for reaching out with questions? AI makes this job easier, as FAQ pages and chat boxes handle minor requests like lost passwords, leaving reps for more complex issues.
4. Think “better” over “bigger”
Entrepreneurs want infinite business growth. Reality says it isn’t possible on a round planet with finite resources. There’s only room for so many people and so much stuff.
However, what is possible is continual improvement. For example, observe how tech companies continually evolve new products. There’s plenty of room for growth in this area, and research and development can net a nice tax credit come filing time.
5. Cultivate positive public relations
Name recognition matters. Many who aren’t customers don’t know certain companies exist, but businesses can improve their reputation by appearing at community events.
For example, everyone needs financial services — even folks kicking back a brewski at a local Oktoberfest. Such organizations can set up a booth where people can ask questions, and maybe pickup a pen or a flyer to remind them of their need for such guidance when they feel less festive.
6. Give back
Make donations to a cause to generate positive community relations. For example, many businesses partner with charities like area food banks. Restaurants might donate their excess, while other companies give money, perhaps placing bins in public areas to showcase their commitment to giving back — while gathering a few extra canned goods to add to the pot.
7. Connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs
Networking with other entrepreneurs is validating — it’s refreshing to mingle with others equally committed to building their passions. It also lets business leaders brainstorm with the best of the best.
People learn from one another, but the competitive American economy makes entrepreneurs forget this truth. Bouncing ideas off of other people with similar visions can lead to breakthroughs for both parties.
8. Forge solid B2B relationships
Attending networking events also opens doors to forming new B2B relationships. Leaders in complementary industries understand the need for development and take mutually beneficial relationships seriously.
The right partnerships help business growth in several ways. For example:
- Mentorship: Large businesses often take smaller ones under their wing.
- Media: Partnering with media companies results in more positive press and a publishing partner for informational content.
- Complementary services: A juice bar adjacent to a yoga studio or gym could offer discounts to those with a membership card in exchange for hanging flyers and providing menus to members to entice them to sip up after class.
9. Partner with the government
Contracting with the government requires following certain rules, but it can result in a lucrative, steady income. The federal government is only one option — state and local governments also work with area businesses to fulfill their needs. For example, a landscaping organization may tend to all maintenance around city buildings.
Companies can search government websites for programs that fit their business models. They can also contact their local chambers of commerce or economic development departments to find opportunities.
The best ways to grow a business
Growing a business is the opportunity to make a difference in the world, improving lives and bettering communities. Keeping these principles in mind encourages longevity and the positive relationships that keep enterprises going strong year after year. These nine methods encourage sustainable growth, continual improvement and stronger neighborhoods where organizations, governments, and individuals work together to help each other flourish.