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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Growth


                                                                            Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Let’s Define “Growth”

Growth is the holy grail of business. However, the term "growth" can be misleading if misunderstood. Many business owners equate growth with increasing sales, but true growth encompasses much more. It means rising cash flow, strong profit margins, developing strong systems, and creating a sustainable business model. 

In this blog, I want to unpack what every business owner needs to know about growth, focusing on profit margins, gross revenue, and the crucial elements that contribute to sustainable success so that when increased sales comes you will be ready for it!

Understanding the Difference: Profit Margin vs. Gross Revenue

Before diving into strategies for growth, it's essential to understand two fundamental financial metrics: profit margin and gross revenue.

Gross Revenue (also referred to as Annual Gross Revenue - AGR) is the total amount of money your business earns from sales before any expenses are deducted. It’s the raw number that your sales operations generate but doesn't account for the cost of generating those sales.

Profit Margin, on the other hand, measures how much of your revenue turns into profit after all expenses are paid. It’s a critical indicator of your business’s efficiency and financial health. In fact, this should be one of your main metrics that you measure.

Here’s how you calculate it, if you were wondering. 

Profit margin =  net profit / by total revenue X 100 → to get the profit margin percentage. 

While increasing gross revenue is important, it’s meaningless if your profit margins are shrinking. High sales volumes with low profit margins can lead to financial instability. Not to mention frustration among your employees when you can’t afford to spend money on new things that will increase efficiency. 

So, focusing on both profit margin and gross revenue is crucial for sustainable growth.



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Sales Are Not Synonymous with Growth

Now, let’s break down this common misconception that boosting sales automatically equates to business growth. While sales are a component of growth, they are not the whole picture. Here’s why:

  1. Cash Flow Matters: Rising sales can actually strain your cash flow if not managed correctly. For example, increasing sales often requires higher spending on inventory, staff, and other operational costs. If your cash flow cannot support these expenses, you might find your business struggling despite high sales figures by not being able to meet the demand for your products or services. 
  2. Profitability is Key: High sales with low profit margins do not contribute to sustainable growth. If your costs are rising faster than your revenue, your business might be growing in terms of sales but shrinking in terms of profitability.
  3. Operational Capacity: Without strong systems and processes in place, a surge in sales can overwhelm your operations, leading to poor customer service, mistakes, and ultimately, a damaged reputation.

The Pillars of Sustainable Growth

Now, let’s take a look at what it takes to achieve sustainable growth. Here are three pillars  of sustainable growth that business owners need to focus on:

  1. Optimizing Profit Margins
  2. Strengthening Systems and Processes
  3. Enhancing Cash Flow Management

1. Optimizing Profit Margins

Maximizing your profit margins is critical for sustainable growth. Here are some strategies to help you improve your margins. 

  • Cost Control: Regularly review your expenses and look for areas where you can cut costs without sacrificing quality. Try negotiating better terms with suppliers and eliminate wasteful spending.
  • Pricing Strategy: Evaluate your pricing strategy to ensure it aligns with your market positioning and value proposition. Sometimes, businesses underprice their products or services, leaving money on the table.
  • Product Mix: Analyze the profitability of each product or service you offer. Focus on promoting and expanding those with higher margins while considering discontinuing less profitable ones.
  • Efficiency Improvements: Invest in technology and processes that enhance operational efficiency, reducing the cost of production or service delivery.

2. Strengthening Systems and Processes

Robust systems and processes are the backbone of a growing business. They ensure consistency, efficiency, and scalability. Simply put, good systems will lead your organization in all of these areas and ensure sustainability.  

I write on systems a lot but here’s an overview on how you can strengthen your business systems:

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Develop clear SOPs for all critical business functions. This ensures that tasks are performed consistently and efficiently, regardless of who is doing them.
  • Technology Integration: Invest in technology that automates repetitive tasks and improves overall productivity. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and other tools can streamline operations and provide valuable insights.
  • Staff Training and Development: A well-trained team is essential for maintaining high standards as your business grows. Invest in regular training and development programs to keep your staff skilled and motivated.
  • Scalable Infrastructure: Ensure that your business infrastructure can support growth. This includes having adequate physical space, technology, and resources to handle increased demand.

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3. Enhancing Cash Flow Management

Healthy cash flow is vital for sustainable growth. Without it, even profitable businesses can face liquidity problems. Here are some cash flow management fundamentals.

  • Accurate Forecasting: Regularly forecast your cash flow to anticipate shortfalls and plan accordingly. This includes understanding seasonal fluctuations and planning for slow periods. Don’t just take past data but use it with your current organizational situation and the current market conditions. Season this with a healthy dose of reality and not hopes and dreams.
  • Efficient Invoicing: Implement efficient invoicing practices to ensure timely payment from customers. This might include setting clear payment terms, offering incentives for early payment, and following up promptly on overdue invoices. You may even be able to collect payment before services are rendered with a refund clause if the service is not performed properly.
  • Managing Expenses: Keep a close eye on your expenses and look for ways to improve payment terms with suppliers. Stretching out payments without harming relationships can improve your cash flow. Just be careful that these terms are clear on the front end to avoid damaged relationships. 
  • Maintaining Reserves: Build and maintain a cash reserve to cover unexpected expenses or downturns in business. This safety net can help you navigate tough times without resorting to high-interest loans or credit. This can’t be overstated. Don’t get into a high debt situation. Be smart about it and build your cash reserve from the beginning. As Dave Ramsey says, “Cash is King.” You have so much more flexibility for the future if you are your own bank.


In conclusion, true business growth is multifaceted and goes beyond just increasing sales. It requires a balanced approach that includes optimizing profit margins, strengthening systems and processes, and enhancing cash flow management. By focusing on these areas, you can build a solid foundation for sustainable growth, ensuring your business thrives, long term!

Remember, growth is not just about expanding; it’s about expanding wisely. It’s about creating a business that is resilient, efficient, and profitable. So, take a holistic approach to growth, and watch your business flourish.

Enjoy the Process!

Grow more. Risk Less


How I Can Help you Grow More & Risk Less

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