7 practical steps for sustainable growth in business

Idunn Consulting | AIBF

Much has been written and recorded about the benefits of adopting a growth mindset.

Entrepreneurs and business leaders are by now well aware of the power of adopting this proactive and positive way of framing the challenges we all face in business and in life.

For those of you who haven’t come across the concept of growth mindset yet – it basically describes a way of viewing challenges and setbacks.

People who have a growth mindset believe that even if they struggle with certain skills, their abilities aren’t set in stone. They think that with work, their skills can improve over time.

It’s a really powerful tool, but growth expert Alison McMurtrie warns interested entrepreneurs to keep their feet firmly on the ground when reading into it…

“Growth mindset is often presented as the key to sustainable growth which is simply not the case,” she told The All-Ireland Business Foundation.

“It’s a very powerful way of thinking and it brings huge positives for entrepreneurs and business leaders but I think its impact is often blown out of proportion.”

“To actualise growth, I believe you need a detailed plan”.

As the Founder of Idunn Consulting, Alison leverages her international experience and positions from a career-spanning 18 years in a market-leading oil and gas service company to help SME businesses to scale and grow for success.

Her approach includes assessing and advising on topics pertaining to HR, operations, supply chain, contracts, accounting, marketing, strategy and innovation.

“Idunn Consulting helps businesses with the practical nuts and bolts of growth rather than the big idea,” she explained, “we look at things holistically.”

“Like chemistry, your actions in a business will reverberate and react all the way through it. Everything impacts everything else.”

“And that’s where our skills come in. We’ve become experts in analysing the links between having a good contract with a supplier to having cash in the bank, to being able to deliver to your client on time”.

“It’s because we look at businesses in a holistic way that our clients emerge with a stronger, more sustainable business having worked with us.”

Alison has achieved Business All-Star Thought Leader Accreditation in recognition of her enormous impact on the SME sector in Ireland.

Alison McMurtrie, Founder of Idunn Consulting.

To mark the accreditation she offered 7 practical tips for SMEs hoping to achieve sustainable growth.

Read them below…

Understand your market

The first step in achieving growth is to decide who you are targeting…

Are you going to offer the same products or services to a new audience?

Or are you going to add new products into your portfolio and offer them to the same clients?

That decision is key because it’s going to have a dramatic impact on your marketing strategy, your sales strategy, your cost base – everything will be affected in some way by this decision.

Understand your client

After you’ve established your market, it’s key to deeply understand your clients within that market.

Who are they? What problem are you going to solve for them?

Remember: A client living in Dublin will have different needs, wants and drivers to a client living in Donegal.

It’s important to understand those drivers and to realise that the power of demand for your product sits with them.

Finance your growth sustainably

Ask yourself: How am I going to finance my growth in a way that’s going to be profitable – not detrimental to my business?

Business owners all too often make the mistake of using their own cash reserves to fuel growth instead of all the financing options and grants that are available to them.

Using your own funds for growth puts your business at totally unnecessary risk.

Collect social proof of your product or service

For Idunn Consultancy, Business All-Star Accreditation is third party recognition of the quality of our service.

It shows our clients that we know what we are talking about and that we have the experience behind us to deliver what we say we will.

Social proof like Business All-Star Accreditation is vital for businesses to gain the trust of their target markets.

Looking at your contracts with suppliers

If you are increasing your volume can you leverage economies of scale?

Can you get supplies at a cheaper price because your suppliers providing you with more product?

Or do you need to think about internationalisation of your supply chain rather than localization?

Analyse how leadership is spending their time

Combined with understanding your market – this is the most important point.

If your leadership team is spending their time on non value added tasks or not growing the business, then that’s going to have a detrimental impact.

You need to be really making sure that everybody is spending their time on sustaining and growing the business.

Automate what you can

As you grow, analyse what you can digitise and automate.

When you’re small, you don’t tend to automate your processes because an Excel spreadsheet might have the same functionality.

But as you grow, those processes become overwhelming and they become chores that you don’t want to do.

When that happens it’s important to automate what you can to free up time to spend on value added tasks.

The All-Ireland Business Foundation would like to thank Alison for sharing her expert advice with our readers.

To find out how Idunn Consulting can help you to achieve the sustainable growth you’ve been looking for, visit their website at www.idunn.ie

To learn more about Idunn Consulting, visit their All-Star showcase page here.