I find myself saying that growing for the sake of growing should not be the goal of any business. Which is true. I believe that growing either revenue or in any other size is not a good goal for a business. But what should the goal be? Is it profit? Is it sustainability? Is it to help the environment and our children’s future? Well, sure, it could be, but first things first.
It sounds extremely capitalistic but the goal of a business is to make profit. If profit is not made then it is either a charity or will go out of business soon. However, after the profit is established, the specific goals for a business get… well… personal.
In a former life I ran a marketing agency. Marketing agencies, like their management consulting counterparts, have engagements (a fancy term for when a new business hires them for specific projects.) During an engagement the consultant’s job is to discover the goals of the business and help them map out how to get there. What I found is that though each business needed to be profitable to survive, their goals varied from creating something to pass down to the owner’s children to helping the environment while building sculptures out of tuna cans (seriously.)
It Doesn’t Really Matter
The truth is that the goal in many ways does not matter, what matters is that the company is profitable and that any other goals beyond that are clear. The only thing more dangerous than focusing only on growth as a goal is to not have a goal at all. Many business start with a clear picture of why they exist. The excitement of launching propels them past start up phase into a mature business. However, during that process it is easy to lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
So Step One: Make Profit
Step two is up to you.