“1. verb

When people, animals, and plants grow, they increase in size and change physically over a period of time.”



I spend a lot of time helping things grow: my clients’ businesses; my own business; my children; my vegetables.


I even help people who aren’t my clients achieve growth, through workshops, talks and blogs such as my series, “Five Conversations that unlock your growth”.

But there are some times when growth is not the answer.


So, how do you know whether to grow or not to grow?

These are the three indicators I look for in a business to tell me that it is not the right time to grow:


1.  When you have grown in the wrong direction

Some companies grow randomly and opportunistically. This type of growth isn’t sustainable. It very often leads to your business doing the wrong type of work for the wrong type of client.

The wrong kind of work is when your company has done work that wasn’t really its core offering but took it because you needed the money or felt you couldn’t say no. This then leads to a reputation for this type of work for that type of client – and before you know it your whole business has moved away from what it set out to be. Doing the wrong kind of work not only sets you off on the wrong track but it can drag you, your team and your whole business down too. I cover this in, “Will this client energise your business?”

If you are in this place, where you have developing opportunistically, then growing from this position is dangerous; you’ll grow in the wrong direction. Instead, you need to stop. Think. Realign the company. Then start to grow from there.


2.  When the business is not ready

I often help businesses get their marketing in order, providing them with a firm platform for growth.

This always entails a marketing audit. If you don’t know where you currently are, how do you know what effort is involved in moving forward?

Sometimes, we have to address key marketing fundamentals. These might include: market positioning, what the focus customer segments are, and which products you are offering them. (Read my series of blogs, “Five Conversations that unlock your growth” to start addressing these yourself).

Then we might have to sort out basic marketing musts such as: developing a brand that reflects how they want to be known; creating a website or other marketing material that appeals to the customers they want to work with.

Some companies are at the point where they have all of that in place and they can move straight to Marketing Audit of their Tactical Marketing. This shows organisations where they do not have the right marketing in place to help people progress through the Customers’ Buying Journey and become clients.

Only when you have your marketing fundamentals addressed and have the right marketing is place at every step of the journey to becoming a customer, then, and only then we can create marketing plans for growth. To do so before is like building a house on sand; it’ll all come tumbling down eventually.


3.  When the person leading the growth is not ready

To successfully grow, a company needs to be led well by a person or people who are ready to grow it.


To grow a business you need, as a bare minimum, energy and time. Then there are a whole host of business skills that are needed, some of which you may have to learn or bring in.


You have to honestly ask yourself if you have the mental and emotional capacity to lead your business’s growth. Do you have the time, patience and money to learn the skills you need or be able to choose the right people to bring in with them? If you aren’t in the right place right now, it’s fine. Look on it as giving you valuable time to put the steps in place to help you be able to hit the ground running when the time is right. This might be learning the skills you need; saving the budget; recruiting the right people and getting them in place. Use not being ready as an opportunity to get more ready.

What next?

The trick with growing a business is to be as ready as you can. You will never be absolutely 100% ready. At some point, you will have to take a deep breath and go for it. But at least if you are mostly ready you stand a better chance of success.


Further help

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, then get in touch. Let’s have a conversation and see how I can help. In the meantime, read some of my case-studies to see how I have helped other businesses grow,


Kara Stanford, Award winning Strategic Marketing Consultant.


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