What's your 'need' to grow?

By Ravi Kiran
About six out of 10 business owners we meet in Middle India say they are not worried about growth and are happy they way they are. ‘Jo Bhagwan ka ichha’, they say, which means ‘whatever the Almighty wills, will happen’. Assuming you are amongst the other four, you have perhaps decided that you want to grow. We suggested in last month’s column that it’s very important for you to articulate why you want to grow. Now we explore the common reasons ambitious businessmen think they need to grow their business. All are valid reasons, but the few that appeal most to you are your reasons. The more honest you are with yourself in accepting your ‘need’, the more sustainable a business you will be able to build.

Competition is all around me: We live in a hypercompetitive world. Competition comes from unforeseen quarters like water competing with soft drinks and home delivery with restaurants. Often the only way to fight competition is to grow.

Market’s growing: If I don’t, I will shrink: This is truer for India than other countries. If you are building a company for the long term, then you have no choice but to grow. In a dynamic market, the opposite of growth is not stagnation, it’s usually decline.

Manage uncertainty on the front foot: The world today is more uncertain than ever and progressive businessmen learn to manage uncertainty with planning and courage and growth is a way of doing that.

I want to be seen as a doer, as a hero, in my community and society: There is a need in most ambitious people to be a role model for someone or something. If that’s your need, it’s legitimate.

I need to make my family secure: All of us care for our families and work towards giving them a secure future.

Costs in business are rising: In a developing economy, most costs only rise. So if you don’t grow well, your cost structure will get distorted, your business less profitable and eventually unprofitable. Growth works as a shock absorber for costs.

I can’t keep working at my current level forever: Our energy levels have limits. If you build a strong business, it will allow you to hire people to manage it without your being involved in every decision.

Good people want to work in growing companies: If you are a smart businessman, you probably want to retain your best people and attract other talented people. In a world where human beings are more important than most other kinds of resource, this is a reason to grow.

If you want to add some more ‘needs’, add them to this list. Then choose a maximum of three or four which look most appropriate to you. You may have a change of mind later, that’s fine, but you need a short list to get started.

© Entrepreneur India August 2012