Business owners run their business for a multitude of reasons: to follow a passion, to make a difference, to leave the rate race, to be their own boss. But despite these differences, there is one consistent theme that permeates the world of business: profits equal continuity. Without profit we simply cease to exist. This leads to another truism: in our capitalist economy, stagnation equals decline. This means that we simply cannot accept ‘stable’ profits; they must be forever increasing. We can therefore accept as a given that, in order to survive and thrive, a business must continually seek to grow its profits.
So the question we should really ask ourselves is:
When should you scale up your profits?
Below are some signs that the time has come.
You have become afraid of change
While I hate living my life one saying at a time, there is one that has stuck with me: ‘Whatever got you to where you are today isn’t sufficient to keep you there.’ In Australia, we live by this pervasive thought that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. How did that work out for Kodak? Or Nokia? Or Yahoo? Success makes us complacent and complacence makes us blind to our weaknesses. The first sign that this is occurring in your business is that you have become afraid to try new things because you believe you’re on a winner. The best solution to this is to set yourself some ambitious new growth goals. This will force you to implement changes to take your profits to the next level.
In business, change is a constant. We can either affect it ourselves or it can be forced upon us. You decide.
There’s nowhere for your staff to go but out
Our businesses are nothing more than our collective employees. We all know that talented employees are hard to find and require rewards and/or progression in order to remain committed to their employee. The unfortunate reality is that if we don’t provide that to them, someone else will. It’s just not possible for us to do this unless our business is growing; we simply won’t have enough money to go round and we won’t be able to offer senior roles in a business with no new opportunities.
Competitors are flooding into your market
We would all theoretically love to operate a monopoly but the truth is competition is better for business and better for consumers. It is also a fact of life. We are in the age of disruption and we operate in an economy that is so conducive to competition that industries that were once considered to have high barriers to entry are being conquered one-by-one (Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, the list goes on). Seeing new entrants enter your market (or existing players expand to compete) can cause anxiety in many of us. I prefer to look at the flip-side: they wouldn’t be coming if there wasn’t an opportunity to be exploited. If you’re noticing a lot more competition, this is arguably the greatest form of validation – other people not only see the opportunity but are prepared to commit their own resources to exploit it. This is a sure fire sign that it’s time to scale up.
You simply can’t achieve your objectives at your current level
We’re all in this for our own reasons, but we all have our own reason. If you’re restless or unsatisfied it likely means you haven’t hit those key goals you established for yourself when you started. You’re in the world of ‘necessary-but- insufficient’. This can be hugely motivation-sapping and can lead to stagnation which, as we’ve discussed, leads to our demise.
At the end of the day, we’re all in this to win. We all want to grow. Keep an eye out for these signs and they could be an indication that this is your time.