2 Entrepreneurial Competencies Leading to Business Growth
Several weeks back I wrote a post titled Entrepreneurs Build an Asset NOT Just a Job . In it I began to present the difference between small business owners and entrepreneurs. While there are many differences and similarities two entrepreneurial competencies, mastering business scalability and understanding the concept of business self-sustainability are critical to business success.
Business scalability is key if growth is your business goal. While many say focus on sales, but I argue sales only represents one key component. If you cannot scale your operation to meet the demands created by increasing sales, then your growth is short lived. You’d be amazes at how many small businesses out there have this problem.
I have a very good friend that is one of the best sales people I’ve ever met. Everywhere he goes since I’ve known him he has successfully increase sales beyond ownership’s expectations. But his new employer cannot cope with the increase in sales and my friend becomes disillusioned by the owner’s ability to manage their business. Operations begin to fall behind, customers begin to complain, and soon ownership is asking sales to slow down. Slowing down is not something a good sales person wants to see and before you know it they leave.
On more than one occasion, I have been called in to try to assist. I am always amazed how owner pride and unwillingness to admit they don’t want to grow the business. The result is the beginning of the end for the business, the owner, and my friend begins seriously looking for the next company for which to sell.
Business Scalability a Key to Business Growth
So, what caused the problem? Applying scalability only to the sales function. When sales met the capacity of the operation the owner hadn’t planned for the increased operational capacity. As a result, they have to slow down sales and focus all the resources and effort on expanding the delivery function to meet the increased demand.
I also frequently see the case that growth isn’t really what the owner wants. What they really want is sustainability!
Business Self-Sustainability Is Not Part of Business Growth
Self-sustainability is allowing something to run on its own. You may say “yeah, that’s what I want for my business. I want it to run without me being there.” Many small business owners REALLY want business self-sustainability – NOT business growth. But, they don’t realize the difference. Then they try to grow the business and find out that’s not what they want. More times than not, they are embarrassed to admit it and are miserable running their business!
Creating business self-sustainability is not easy. And, it is not an innate talent you are born with. Self-sustainability means delegating and letting go. This is a very hard transition for many small business owners. But, when you’ve learned to do it, you’ve mastered a skill you move into the realm of true entrepreneurship.
So where do you begin?
From a technical perspective, you first need to know where your business capacity is all along the revenue cycle. That means a Revenue Engine Performance Checkup. It will tell you where you need to grow first, second, and third along the cash flow cycle to balance your business scalability.
But, I believe what is even more important, is looking in the mirror and asking yourself “what do you really want your business to become?” This decision in a critical fork in the road for your business. The post titled 4 Owner Objectives to Achieve the Self-Sustainability Stage of Business Growth is a good source of information as to which direction you want to take your business when you achieve the self-sustainability stage of the business growth cycle.
How many of you find yourself in this quandary? For those of you that were there and have moved past it, how did you do it? Your story may help others get beyond the point of small business owner and mover them into the realm of true entrepreneurship.
If you are quite there yet, something is probably missing. I would recommend downloading our FREE e-book, The Missing Component to Successful Entrepreneurship by completing the form below.
Interesting perspective. Like you I always believed that sales was key to sustainability in business but you make a very good point about the need of understanding growth in your company. At this point sales is a key to me as I am starting out cold as a freelance photographer in the North Eastern Ohio area having graduated from AU several months ago and still focusing on making sales with my photo, video, and CGI commercial freelance photography business in NE OH. This is food for thought and as I grow I will try to remember this fact and remember that sustainability is as important as sales.