There’s a well worn saying, ‘If you always do what you always did you’ll always get what you always got’. I’m not sure that’s true when there’s so much competition in most fields. Someone will always be looking to increase their share of the market at your expense. That’s why I think we should always be looking for ways to grow our businesses, to do better. Ways in which we can ‘raise the bar’.

High jump or pole vault?

Jumping for success

Are you looking for incremental gains?

I believe there are two options for getting over the raised bar. One is the high jump approach where we move the bar up a notch at a time. We may have set the bar too low so that we clear it with inches to spare. The business equivalent may be spare capacity or charging a lower price than customers would be prepared to pay. A bit more marketing or an increase in price would see some swift gains.

Or perhaps we have to do something different to clear the greater height, adjusting our run up, changing our technique or taking off from a different point. Here the business equivalent is tweaking the way we do things looking for small improvements across the board. This is the concept of marginal gains. If you can make lots of small improvements in every area the compound results will be significant.

Clearing the bar with help

or will you need help to clear your raised bar?

Or may be you are going to take the pole vault approach to growing your business where you are looking for rapid growth. In this case you are likely to need help, the business equivalent of the pole or you will need to do something different, the business equivalent of changing your event.

Do you need to bring in help because you are working at capacity or do you need help in the form of coaching or consultancy? Would your business growth come from a new product or service or even changing your business model?

Which podium do you want to stand on?

Growing a business requires a strategy and a plan. We need to be clear about where we are heading, our goals and our vision of success. We need to set a deadline. Many elite athletes will be working towards the podium at the World Championships in London next year but for some that will be too soon and they will be aiming for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Their training programmes will be planned so that they peak at just the right time. Is your approach to growing your business as strategic as that? If not, why not?

When you know what you are aiming for and your deadline you can work backwards and plan what needs to happen at every stage to achieve success. Perhaps this is the right time to plan what you want to achieve by the end of the year or maybe you want to start working on your plans for next year. The sooner you identify your goal and your deadline the sooner you will be able to plan the actions required to get you there so what are you aiming for? Why not share your goals in the comments and then we can cheer you on from the stands?

In next week’s blog I’ll be considering some of the steps you can take to make those marginal gains that can have a big impact, do join me.