If you’ve seen moderate growth for your business during the past year, will you be planning business growth the same way you did before? An incremental rise in sales and market share certainly seems like an acceptable business objective, but the imminent approach of a new year might be the right time to dramatically realign the way you think about your business and the actions you take to pursue its growth.
Most of us think, act and live in a linear manner. We follow the same routine every day and, as a result, much of our thinking takes on a linear pattern as well. The goals we aspire to grow out of this linear thinking and are therefore fairly modest in scale, and for most of us, that seems like a perfectly acceptable approach.
But I believe that CEOs, business owners and other C-level executives have much more to gain by adopting a riskier—and far more exciting—perspective.
Think Exponentially When Planning Business Growth
“Exponential thinking” as championed by such innovative thinkers as Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, involves “visualizing the future not just five, ten or even 20 years from now, but several generations from now and beyond.” It takes into account breathtaking technological advances within our own lifetimes and how these advances pave the way for innovations in society and business. It’s the kind of thinking we all recognize in leaders like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson.
But, as is my contention, it’s a mindset every CEO and small business owner can adopt as well. Here are suggestions to get you moving in this direction:
1. Consider future demand.
Assuming you lead a successful business, there’s obviously a demand for your product or service. But rather than developing a growth strategy based on current demand, start taking proactive steps to scale growth for a major surge in demand. Structure your business in ways that result in the capacity for exponential growth within the next five to ten years.
2. Visualize an “ideal” future.
What if every aspect of your business—your customers, your technology infrastructure, your employees—reached an “ideal” stage? Instead of seeking out opportunities that result in incremental growth, focus your attention on situations and occasions that can quadruple growth—or even ten times what your business presently does.
3. Eliminate attitudes and obstacles in your path.
On a regular basis, look for conditions that you currently regard as “blocking” the path to exponential growth. Take action to remove those obstacles or, at the very least, eliminate any defeatist attitudes restricting a potentially much larger vision of growth. Exponential thinking begins with an expansive view of the future, not one hindered by minor, day-to-day obstructions.
4. Focus on your strengths.
Yes, we’re all told to improve those areas of leadership that are less than impressive. At the same time, you possess certain strengths that have brought you to your present level of success. Focusing on what you do best brings a greater sense of confidence and a clearer sense of purpose that’s critically important to exponential thinking. Obsessing about your personal shortcomings does nothing to help you prepare for the future.
5. Ask the big questions.
Fire up your exponential thought process by asking yourself these big questions:
- Instead of a pro forma growth of ten to fifteen percent what would happen if the growth rate doubled? What would need to change?
- What if capital was unlimited? How would I run my company?
- What if I had the best employees? The best technology? The best manufacturing? The best clients?
Exponential thinking has given us the personal computer, a cure for formerly “incurable” diseases and, among other things, prospects for interplanetary travel. What can exponential thinking do for you and your business in 2016?
Discussions in Catapult peer group sessions often center around the topic of exponential growth. For more information contact one of our business growth coaches at Catapult Groups.