Think Big to Grow Big

Growing a company isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. Growing an established company by double digits is a rare feat, especially on a year-in, year-out basis. 

Ask yourself: What would it take for your business to grow by 10 percent this year? Likely, it would require a series of initiatives and investments. You might need to snag some top-notch talent, increase value and raise prices, and undertake an acquisition or two.

Even then, the challenge may feel overwhelming. You would have to successfully execute multiple initiatives, secure adequate resources, overcome your competitors’ countermoves and get your entire organization moving forward in an aligned fashion.

It is an incredible amount of work, if it can be done at all, and it is certainly not without risks.

How About an Even Bigger Growth Challenge?

Now, let’s make it interesting. What if your goal is to increase revenues not by 10 percent, but by a factor of 10? How would you approach that?

Would you be thinking about how to stretch your current business to get there … or would you have to envision a different company—maybe your current company on steroids? Your current core business might have to become one of several divisions. Maybe your local company goes global. Or maybe your products are sold across multiple markets rather than one.

Would it be a lot of work? You betcha! Could it be done? Absolutely! Exponential growth is not without its challenges, but are those challenges necessarily harder than pursuing a smaller goal? Or are they just different?

Once we push past the tendency to think in increments of growth (growing by 10 percent) and start thinking about pedal-to-the-metal growth (growing by 10x), we open up whole new possibilities to consider. We think about the potential of the business differently.

Improve or Transform?

There are significant challenges in either growth scenario. The work will be hard, resources will be stretched, and the outcome will not be guaranteed. One choice may improve the company; the other may transform it.

But if you are going to subject yourself, your colleagues and the employees to one of these options, which one gives the greatest rewards?

The point is simply this: Thinking bigger isn’t necessarily harder. And in the process, thinking bigger often opens up new opportunities we never would have considered. Whether your stretch goal is 10 percent growth or 10x growth, challenge your team to go beyond the point that comes naturally, just simply tweaking what you already do.

There is tremendous gold to be mined by stretching your growth goal past the obvious to the (at first) incomprehensible.