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Business Growth Strategist Weathers the Storm

Economic uncertainty can feel like navigating a ship in a storm. Mixed signals, especially prevalent in an election year, contribute to a sea of confusion for small business owners and entrepreneurs. How do you set sail and plot a course for success in such choppy waters? The answer: strategic thinking, planning, and execution in partnership with a seasoned business growth strategist. During the economic downturn of 2008, entrepreneurs faced the harsh winds of change. Businesses hunkered down as a storm of recession-battered the marketplace. And yet, amidst this tempestuous backdrop, a few resilient businesses not only survived but thrived. What set them apart?

Business Growth Strategist Weathers the Storm

The Bellwether of Business Resilience

My Dad, weathered by The Great Depression, often remarked, “We need to tighten our belts.” That era demanded frugality and foresight, virtues that proved vital during the 2008 recession as well. Even as we tightened our financial belts, some businesses couldn’t keep pace with the surge. However, those that could sustain a growth rate of 20% or more? They did more than stay afloat—they navigated the storm. Fast-forward to 2013, and the murmurs of a looming economic decline began to surface. These prophecies foretold a global downtrend touching down in the United States by 2020. What wasn’t predicted was the maelstrom of COVID-19—a disruption that capsized a staggering 22% of small businesses by April 2020. Yet, a year later, a beacon of optimism shone through. An astonishing 89% of small business entrepreneurs firmly believed in their businesses’ survival. In other words, we’ve been through this before.

Navigating Business Growth Rates

During my time roaming the halls of UCLA Anderson School of Business, Professors Yvonne Randle and Eric Flamholtz shared how they navigated many through the growing pains of entrepreneurship. Here’s a glimpse of the five rates of growth they charted:

  1. Less than 15% Annually—Growth: Steady as she goes! This rate, while not meteoric, ensures you can double your business in five years without capsizing.
  2. 15–25% Annually—Rapid Growth: The winds pick up. Are you prepared for the increased effort, investment, and the challenge of thinning margins? This is the stretch where strategy makes all the difference
  3. 25–50% Annually—Very Rapid Growth: Now you’re catching gale-force winds. The demand to expand and innovate is palpable, and so are the rewards for those who can withstand the pace.
  4. 50—100% Annually—Hypergrowth: At this exhilarating speed, it’s crucial to keep a keen eye on the horizon to steer clear of any obstacles.
  5. Greater than 100% Annually—Light-speed Growth: This is not just growth; it’s a transformation. Here, agility and foresight will determine whether you soar or crash.

In this tumultuous economic ocean, which rate is yours for the taking?

Why You Need a Business Growth Strategist

You might wonder, “Is it truly possible to achieve such growth in today’s uncertain economy?” Here’s the secret: the courageous captains who weathered the roughest seas had a “strategist” by their side, ensuring they weren’t just reacting to the waves but riding them with intent. A Business Growth Strategist isn’t just a coach or consultant; they are your partner—bringing you clarity, sharpening your focus, strengthening your resilience, challenging your premises, assisting with setting strategy, and guiding you towards the desired horizons. They provide the compass, and the map, to discover profitable routes you might have missed.

 Your Call to Action

It’s time to raise the anchor and unfurl the sails. With strategic thinking, execution planning, a compass point for every decision, and a clear map of growth rates, you’re equipped to sail even the most uncertain of economic seas. Are you prepared to be the optimist who, in the face of adversity, not only survives but prospers? If your answer is a resounding “Yes,” then it’s time to join forces with a Strategist who can steer your course to safe harbor and beyond.

Take the helm. Be the beacon. Grow boldly, grow strategically. Grow sustainably.

Don’t weather this storm alone. Contact us today and discover how, together, we’ll chart a course for success that keeps your business thriving, no matter the economic forecast.

business growth via systems thinking

As an entrepreneur in stage 2 of business growth—the messy middle—you likely need more time to grow your business. Yet sustained, scalable growth can be elusive. There are many moving parts to a successful business, and it can be difficult to see how they all fit together. Plus, wasteful tasks bog you down and don’t add any value to your bottom line.

That’s where systems thinking comes in. Systems allow you to grow and scale your business.  Without systems, your business will quickly reach a ceiling and be unable to expand. 

And, as more and more enterprises seek ways to create sustained, scalable business growth, this type of thinking is gaining momentum. Why? Because systems thinking is the key to unlocking sustained, scalable business growth. 

business growth via systems thinking

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a way of looking at your business that sees interconnectedness and interdependence rather than independent and isolated parts. 

In a traditional linear system, each part is separate and independent from the others. It’s a siloed approach that creates inefficiencies and stagnation. Additionally, linear thinking and its subsequent siloed approach lead to departments or divisions competing with each other rather than collaborating. 

On the other hand, systems thinking is a way of looking at problems that consider the relationships between different parts of a system. It’s a holistic approach that considers how each element of a system affects the other elements. And when you employ systems thinking to solve problems, you can see the big picture and more easily identify potential areas of improvement. 

When done correctly, this leads to increased efficiency, opens capacity, and spurs growth. 

Why Use Systems Thinking for Business Growth? 

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, it’s more important than ever to adapt quickly to new challenges. Systems thinking provides a framework for doing just that. By understanding how different parts of your business are interconnected, you can make changes that have a ripple effect throughout the organization. This allows you to be nimble and responsive to the ever-changing needs of the marketplace. 

There are many benefits to using systems thinking in your business. When this type of thinking is operating, you’ll be able to: 

  • See the big picture. When systems thinking is employed, you can see how all the different parts of your business fit together. With the big picture in mind, your decision-making improves.
  • Find inefficiencies. When systems thinking is used, you uncover inefficiencies in your business and correct them, which opens the capacity for more growth.
  • Create sustainable growth. With systems thinking, you can create sustained, scalable growth for your business, which is impossible with a traditional linear approach. 

How To Use Systems Thinking 

In its simplest form, there are four steps to using systems thinking in your business. First, define the problem you’re trying to solve. Second, identify the different parts of the system involved in the issue. Third, analyze how each part of the system affects the other parts. Finally, develop solutions that address the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. 

Using these steps, you’ll be able to see problems from multiple angles and develop creative solutions that will help your business grow sustainably. 

Systems thinking is about creating and using processes and procedures to automate your business operations. It eliminates the need for manual tasks, which are often time-consuming and inefficient. It also helps streamline your business processes, ensuring everyone is on the same page, services are delivered quickly and efficiently, and unnecessary duplication of work is eliminated. 

If you want your business to grow, start thinking like a systems thinker. Use data to understand cause and effect, look for feedback loops, anticipate what will happen next, create experiments, and be prepared to correct course when necessary. Encourage a culture of learning, keep an eye on the big picture, build resilience into your system, and be open to new ideas to embrace change as an opportunity for growth.

Systems thinking is a powerful tool that can unlock sustained, scalable business growth. It creates a ripple effect throughout the entire company and makes your business nimble and responsive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. 

business growth

business growth

Business growth isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of being everything to everybody. Yet, despite that, some business leaders tout the benefits of being a generalist. 

I see advantages for both the generalist and the specialist. 

For instance, a generalist doesn’t necessarily develop the same blind spots as someone specializing in a specific industry. Being a generalist can be beneficial in the case of someone like me who consults and coaches small businesses. I can think outside the industry, which can bring a unique perspective not previously considered. On the other hand, marketing as a generalist has its drawbacks and can make it a bit more challenging to proliferate. 

Growing more quickly is where being a specialist can shine. With marketing and messaging confined to one industry, it becomes easier to gain traction. 

Even as a specialist, focusing on a niche is no longer enough to break into the world of big profits. Instead, in today’s marketplace, a business needs to specialize in a micro-niche to optimize success

Defining Micro Niche

Most people in the world of business know what a niche is. Sports cars, fitness, health—each of those is a niche. But if you ever crack open a laptop or scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, you can attest to how many professionals focus on those general industries.

Concentrating on a micro-niche can set you apart and make a significant impact. For example, instead of focusing your brand on general fitness, specialize in fitness for teen girls or women over 60. Those are micro-niches. 

Here are a few more examples:

  • Tiny houses: micro-niche in the real estate industry
  • European travel: micro-niche in the travel industry (Or niche down further by honing in on travel to Germany.)
  • All-natural makeup: micro-niche in the skincare industry

Benefits of a Micro Niche for Business Growth

Micro-niching, and its many benefits, is exciting. But, unfortunately, it can also be a bit unnerving. 

One of the greatest fears for most small business owners when they consider streamlining services to a more specific area, is the loss of potential clients. Is that possible? Emphatically no! I’ve witnessed this in my coaching practice. The opposite is true. When my clients began the process of niching down, their revenue experienced a substantial jump. 

Take a look at the benefits that prove micro niches lead to business growth:

  • Low competition. Because of the highly specialized nature of the micro-niche, you have minimal competition. 
  • Ability to gain traction. Every business needs momentum to get started and continue growing. A micro-niche provides the traction required to progress quickly, so you’re not spinning your wheels.
  • Increased profitability. Due to low competition, you naturally experience greater profits because you have access to more clients who share your interests, desires, and passions. (Plus, think of how much fun your business would be if you worked in a highly specialized area that you love.)
  • Easier marketability. Marketing experts know that standing out in a crowd is the key to drawing attention to your brand and increasing sales. A micro-niche makes this possible and leads to an increase in business growth.

Finding Your Micro Niche

Okay, now you know the importance and benefits of micro-niches. Are you ready to make the switch? If so, how do you find your micro-niche?

Let’s say you’re a fitness expert. How do you stand out from the millions of other fitness experts in the market? Here are the first two questions to ask yourself on your journey toward micro-niche business growth.

  1. What is my greatest passion?
  2. With whom do I most enjoy working? (Read Buyer Persona: The Ultimate Tool for Small Business Success in a Crowded Market.)

Once you’ve answered those two questions, you’re well on your way to identifying your perfect niche fit.

What is the “tiny house” of your market? Give us a call when you’re ready to find out—and micro-niche your way to business growth and success. You’ll be up and growing in no time.

Entrepreneurs strategy for slow growth

You’re an entrepreneur. You made it through the core startup phase of your business growth. You’ve refined your buyer and honed your offerings. Your marketing funnel is consistently generating client leads. And, you’ve built a strong reputation in your industry. Well done! 

The good news? You no longer worry about survival. 

And yet…

You’re overwhelmed. Burned out. Exhausted. 

You work long, endless hours. Each day is utter chaos only to wake and do it again the next day. 

With no end in sight, you wonder how much longer you can work at this fevered pace. 

The worst part? Despite your continued effort of hard work and long hours, your business growth has slowed or stalled. Egads! 

Entrepreneur strategy for slow growth
Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

You’ve hit a plateau — a ceiling — that seems impenetrable regardless of the successful implementation of effective strategies. 

What started out as an exciting journey for you as an entrepreneur has turned into a bit of a nightmare. You feel trapped. You’re falling out of love with your business but can’t quit!

You’ve invested too much.

You no longer own your business – your business owns you.

Welcome to the Stage II Enterprise! 

Stage II Enterprise: By The Numbers

Imagine that. There’s actually a name for the current state of your business existence

As a Stage II Enterprise, you’ve moved beyond startup. During the three to five-year period of business ownership, you’ve proven your business model and achieved some level of sustainability. (Insert sigh of relief here.) 

Annual revenue is between $350,000 – $1 Million. And, although you “enjoy” some fluid cash flow, revenue is stalled. Your response? Tighten down the hatches and work harder!

You manage a team of 5–15 hybrid employees and freelancers, which allows you to expand and contract as dictated by cash flow and opportunities. 

Sadly, your talent pool is a bit stagnant with unqualified hires stemming from the earlier, inexperienced days of business ownership. 

Employees haven’t grown with the organization and because pay may not be aligned with the labor market, you’re hesitant to ask them to step up their game.

Plus, as the former “lone ranger,” you are accustomed to “doing it all” yourself. You either don’t know how or are uncomfortable delegating to the staff. Staff is underutilized.

Your ability to survive missteps, misjudgments, and bad decisions is real. With little to no time focused on forwarding movement and strategies needed to grow the business, the ability to remain relevant is challenged.

And yet…

You know what it takes to run a business and have the aptitude and appetite to continue growing.

Stage II Enterprise: The Information Gap of the Entrepreneur

As a Stage II Enterprise, the marketplace does not serve you well — if at all. Few sources exist to provide you with the proven strategies that work.

A colossal information gap exists between startup, stage one business growth and development, YOU, and the corporate behemoths; information vital for solving the problems of your enterprise.

What you long for — and need — are effective strategies to accelerate the process of stopping the stall and getting to the next level.

Stage II Enterprise: Bridging the Information Gap

To turn a stall into success requires navigating complex challenges, especially in times like this. It’s a strategic balancing act to test the boundaries of what is possible, understand the limits of your business, and maximize its potential. 

Although your chosen strategy is business dependent, there are several problems to solve, such as: 

  • Inability to focus.
  • Sense of overload, overwhelm and overburden by the current business environment.  
  • Limited access to resources needed to succeed like money and talent. 
  • Poor deployment of resources such as staff, time, and money.
  • Cloudy thinking accompanied by poor decision-making. 
  • Lack of a clear direction, plan, or focused execution. 
  • Missing knowledge or skill.  Not knowing what you don’t know. 

Despite the challenges faced, you want to put your talents to use, grow your business, and make smart decisions. Good for you! 

The question remains — where do you start? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back!


Connect with Community. Contribute to the Conversation. 

Visit our community platform to connect, commiserate, collaborate, and collude with like-minded Stage II Enterprise entrepreneurs on what it takes to rise above your growing pains.

Spontaneity and the ability to “fly by the seat of your pants” or “fake it until you make it” can be excellent qualities to have, but to survive the test of time in business you need a plan. If you’re serious about success, a clear business strategy must underlie all the day-to-day tasks you do.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” —Sun Tsu, Ancient Chinese Military strategist

What’s A Business Strategy — and Why Do I Need It?

Occasionally, someone achieves a goal suddenly, or even accidentally, but it’s rare. Attempting to duplicate the success — in the absence of a strategy — is even rarer. Not only does a strategy ensure your success is repeatable, it also simplifies the tough decisions, annoying business details, and unglamorous drudge-work found in any business.

Here’s how strategy supports your success:

  • Business strategy aids prioritization and decision-making. What should you be doing, what should you delegate, and what should you cross off your list entirely? What should you do first? Without a clear strategy, you’ll never know if what you’re doing daily makes sense. You can get off track, and spend time on busy-work tasks that don’t matter, but fill your time. Being strategic about your business ensures you use your time wisely and helps you determine what is most impactful. It also helps when you need to say “no” to requests or opportunities that don’t contribute to achieving (or are not in line with) your main goals.

“What business strategy is all about — what distinguishes it from all other kinds of business planning — is, in a word, competitive advantage. Without competitors there would be no need for strategy, for the sole purpose of strategic planning is to enable the company to gain, as efficiently as possible, a sustainable edge over its competitors.” —Kenichi Ohmae, Japanese guru known for this thinking on strategy

  • Business strategy gives meaning to all your work-day tasks. When tasks have direction and meaning, you’ll have more energy to complete them — or delegate them, as the case may be.

“To be strategic is to concentrate on what is important, on those few objectives that can give us a comparative advantage, on what is important to us rather than others, and to plan and execute the resulting plan with determination and steadfastness.” ―Richard Koch, best-seller author of The 80/20 Principle

  • Business strategy helps you talk about your business. Telling others what you do, especially on the spur of the moment, is much easier when you’ve already defined your vision and mission. Taking the time to work out your strategy — the thing that really sets you apart from your competition — makes your unique value proposition easier to articulate.
  • Business strategy helps you attract investors, business partners, and prospective customers and employees. Without a clear business strategy and vision, it can be hard to get funding for your business’ growth and convince others of its importance and validity. A sound strategy helps ensure your business/project sounds possible and probable to others.
  • Business strategy keeps YOU inspired too, and on the path toward your success. Minus a strategy, it’s easy to fall into chaos and anxiety. Your strategy, coupled with your vision, helps to keep your energy up when it begins to languish. A clear strategy also boosts employee morale while maintaining focus and productivity.

“With the level of uncertainty we see today, more people are asking, how can you develop a strategy in a world that keeps changing so fast? They are afraid that a set of rigid principles will hinder their ability to react quickly. I argue that it is precisely at such times that you need a strategy.” ―Orit Gadiesh, corporate strategist, and chairman of Bain & Company

Frankly, it can be a bit daunting to lay out a business strategy. However, with an inspiring vision, a purposeful mission, and a competitive strategy everything about your business becomes easier and more fulfilling.

“Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: its starting point.” ― Henry Mintzberg, internationally renowned author, academic, and researcher

Today’s small business owners are grappling with uncommon levels of complexity. As one colleague so aptly put it, “We have overwhelmed entrepreneurs coming out of the woodwork from all directions.”

Head-down discipline is no longer effective to accomplish the business growth and success you desire. Just as much as a business strategy informs you of what to work on, an effective strategy also enlightens you on what to avoid.

A Business Strategy For Simplicity and sustainability

Strategies guide your decision-making, save valuable resources, and prevent you from squandering time and money on the wrong projects or pursuing the wrong market. They prevent conflicting priorities and, most importantly, clarify and prioritize your activities.

In essence, they bring a degree of simplicity to your business unachievable by any other means.

What do you need to know when reconstructing your business strategy? Here are the vital components to consider as you reformulate your business strategy.

  1. Elements critical for growth. Based on your stated mission and vision, are you able to pinpoint the influencing factors required to achieve your mission? Elements such as target audience, location, reputation, distribution, pricing, and product uniqueness are just a few things to consider.
  2. Issues affecting your industry. This includes opportunities, threats, and how you might leverage and/or minimize them to achieve your mission and vision.
  3. Channels for distribution. Pinpointing how your target audience currently purchases similar products/services, including how they will likely obtain them in the future will be a key factor in deciding your distribution channels. This, by far, is the most rapid-changing influencer of business strategies in today’s market due to the explosion of technology.
  4. Strengths and weaknesses of your business. Recognizing factors that contributed to your business success, as well as those that have limited business growth, play an important role in crafting business strategies that serve the test of time.
  5. Factors limiting growth or profitability. No one really likes to look at — or admit to — factors that may limit, reduce, or bottleneck business growth yet this is likely one of the most significant reasons for identifying your business strategies.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It can be if you’re willing to set aside the time to take a step back, observe the changing business environment, and thoroughly think through the important aspects of business strategy formation. It’s truly the most important aspect of business development.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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