The Economy May Be Slow But You Can Grow Your Business

By Darlene Crane

Surefooted, steady-going growth works!
Successful business owners are able to grow in good and bad times alike because they:

  1. Know their strengths well and build on them
  2. Face the crucial business gaps, then narrow them
  3. Aim for the revenue levels you must have to sustain the business

Know your strengths well and build on them:

In saturated markets like law, architecture, wellness, IT services or consumer services it is crucial to identify your distinct strengths and keep building on them. Look at all your work, research markets and explore niches that you can uniquely serve in a way that is hard to copy. Define products that could be patented and distributed. On our website  see that Jenny Kassan, Jenny Kassan Consulting, launched two nationally recognized companies by building on her expertise in the non-profit  and public sectors. She helped write the laws that launched Crowd Funding and launched programs and services to provide small businesses with more options to acquire capital.

Face the crucial business gaps, then narrow them:

Entrepreneurs have a higher likelihood of realizing business results from growth strategies if you recognize and narrow crucial operating gaps. Do this before you invest significantly into a growth project. One of the operating gaps I see the most is unreliable accounting and financial statements.  The financial gap is the easiest to fix by finding and paying for reliable bookkeeping and CPA services.  The second gap is the entrepreneur doing too much of the market research and positioning necessary for growth and expansion projects.   Entrepreneurs may be too close to the business to critically explore their own markets and niches.  You can close this gap by bringing in interns from business schools majoring in marketing, hire professionals or search for or buy independent market research reports.

Aim for the revenue levels you must have to sustain the business

It is hard to generate sales all the time.  It does not help to start selling new products and services and hope you get the revenue you really need.  Set sales goals in steps that get you to the break even level and beyond.  Commit to keep trying to find more strategies and tactics that feel right for you and get results.  Track your sales monthly and if you miss a sales target it does not help to fall into blame.  It is the time to turn to your strengths and feel the confidence they bring you.  With a fresh and stronger mindset think of it as an adventure to find your ideal customer.  Get feedback from your existing ideal customers on your communication and sales approaches.

Steady, surefooted action creates improvement and growth for years to come.

Clarify your strengths, find the crucial gaps and develop the sales process that works and is authentically yours. Use one or two of the numerous career skills, leadership and entrepreneurship assessments to identify strengths and gaps. The CraneWorks provides growth readiness assessments for small and mid-size businesses.  The sketch poster below can help you remember these recommendations without having to read the who article.

darleneframeAbout Darlene Crane

Over the last decade, Darlene has focused on how small and mid-size businesses create sustainable healthy growth and stay connected to communities and culture. After serving as Executive Director of The Alliance for Community Development in Oakland from 2011 to 2015, she is back in full time private practice to help many more businesses sustain growth in this challenging economy. Everyone who believes they can benefit from her strategic, steady growth approach is welcome in her group programs and services. Visit Darlene at

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