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16 Growth Drivers for Startups in 2016

The definition of growth will vary from person-to-person and situation-to-situation. From some, growth is 2X topline growth whereas for others it may mean starting and maintaining their business.

For entrepreneurs, failure isn’t an option. We all want growth and here are 16 Drivers for 2016 to accelerate growth for your business. Regardless of what your specific definition of growth is, you can deploy these proven techniques!

Keep Growth Mindset

First things first! According to a research conducted by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, successful individuals possess a “growth mindset” that allows them to learn from their mistakes and realize that there is always potential to grow and achieve larger goals. Those with a “fixed mindset” believe that intelligence; creativity and talent cannot be changed.

Unlock The True Potential

Revisit the strategy canvas to unlock the true potential of your organization. Challenge the tenets of strategy and calls for a shift in focus from competing to creating new market space and hence making the competition irrelevant. With proven analytical frameworks for creating and capturing blue oceans, the blue ocean strategic approach makes a paradigm shift to unlock the true hidden potential of the organization.

Goal-Setting Backed By Goal-Stepping

Setting up SMART goals is well known cliché, however what I would like to stress upon is two aspects. One is having a well thought mission (steps towards vision) to achieve those goals. And secondly, as Bill Gates said it – “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” One needs to plan with long-term perspective, say perhaps three-year window!

Visualize Those Goals

It reminds me one of the interesting books, ‘Double Double: by Cameron Herold where the author raises very interesting questions. Could you run 5280 feet? No? But can you see yourself running four times around half a kilometer track? If you haven’t done the math, that would be the exact same distance. The later sounds easier cosits easier to achieve visualized goals than those expressed in numbers. Visualize your annual goals into monthly or quarterly targets. Not to mention power of, ‘Conceive, Visualize and Realize’ mantra!

Linking Strategy To Execution

This is very important step where any business, a startup or an established businesses struggle. One must keep consider all aspects; all stakeholders from customers/ consumers to employees to society, business execution methods, capabilities, technology, to name a few. There are several deployment frameworks like The LightHouse Exercise, which have been yielding tremendous results.

Stability Of 3Ps

The 3 Ps for any business are People – Process and Physical Workplace. Stability in terms of either skill set & attitude of team members or robust processes leading to high quality products or services are hygiene elements – mere order qualifiers, no longer order winners! Right well-organized workplace will ‘only aid in creating’ stable people and processes.

Crafting An Action Plan

Power of documenting anything in black and white is phenomenal for its realization. As mentioned in point 3 & 5, slicing the goals into smaller visualized themes and then to executable tasks is key to accelerating the growth. I am sure you would be reading and practicing tons of advice on improving productivity and achieving more from less! I wont spill any thoughts there!

Communicate, And Communicate Well

Good communication should flow top-down, bottom- up, between peers and across departments. Having open door policy and flat organization is not new for startups – what would be detrimental is not realizing the benefits of it. Concepts like simple team boards (which display right information) and standing team meetings – where capturing of key pointers – can come in handy to elevate the communication levels in the organization.

Use Of Technology

Today where majority of startups are driven by technology, use of technology may not be considered as one of the key drivers. However, it is equally important to make the best of available technology – whether it appropriate CRM tools which give you last mile visibility or utilizing customized yet pay as you go ‘software as service’ ERP modules are affordable and a must have for growth driven businesses.

Linkages To Performance Management Systems

Stability of people is also ascertained by rewards and recognition for the team members. Making it objective driven and transparent, unlike traditional set ups is another enabler, which can’t be ignored. There are several proven frameworks that will help a growth leader and business. However, having a suitable performance management system is another challenge, which should not be overlooked.

Sustenance – Stepping Stones For Future

By sustenance, I intend point towards sustaining the improvements achieved and making them as stepping-stones for future. As it is said, improving is easy – what is difficult is sustaining growth due to incremental/ innovation elements. Translating it into business terms could mean, higher account receivables – quality of products/ services or even transactional errors – higher attrition rates, etc. All such pitfalls should be covered with proper standards and counterchecks throughout.

Build Growth Culture

All leaders delve upon Right Culture! Strong business growth required a strong business culture. Considering Google’s success, ever wondered about their corporate motto? Got a guess what it might be? They came up with it 14 years ago: ‘Don’t be evil’. This mantra is the basis of a strong company culture that makes Google one of the most attractive employers worldwide. Think about your office. Is it a place people are excited to visit each day? Culture is some which binds the organization and propels it further!

No Blames And Excuses

As per the Japanese culture, which strongly believes in no blaming and excuses, business scenarios strongly, demands following it in routines. As an entrepreneur, you should be prepared for the roller coaster – realize that the unknown will always be a part of your life!

Staunch Leadership

Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful business venture. However, whatever your age may be, as soon as you make that exciting first hire, you have taken the first steps in becoming a powerful leader.

When stress levels are high, and the visions of instant success don’t happen like you thought, it’s easy to let those emotions get to you, and thereby your team. Take a breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself of the leader you are – your team is relying on you! Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

Journey Is The Destination

Ever felt so overwhelmed with work and personal issues that you couldn’t muster up the strength to better either situation? Overwork erodes the quality of life and can drive to burnout. Instead, why not split your day into ‘work’ and ‘fun’? Use the fun part of your day to lift your mood and look forward.

Don’t forget that journey is the destination. Journey is the real fun and don’t miss it.

Pause And Review

A typical Deming cycle of Standardize – Do – Check – Act (SDCA) after every Plan – Do –Check and Act (PDCA). Take a pause, stock of the situation and review. Regularly, on all matters – personal or organizational!

Written By: Faber Aakash Borse – one of the founding members and Director of Faber Infinite Consulting (www.faberinfinite.com), with operations in Asia Pacific, Africa & Middle East. He holds a masters degree in Operations Management with his 1st degree being in Mechanical Engineering.

Originally published by Inc42 here.

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