Six tips to develop your high-growth mindset

Is achieving high-growth all in the mindset? Having the right mental approach certainly goes a long way, says Rob Turner.

Is the entrepreneurial spirit in the genes? Or is it to be found only in firms of a certain size and limited by sector? Academics and business leaders have long argued about this.

But a study by business experts at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the Business Growth Service has taken a new approach to learn about entrepreneurship and how it helps achieve rapid growth.

They have analysed the mindset of entrepreneurs who have been at the helm of fast-growing companies and their findings can be distilled into six characteristics that can help your business achieve rapid growth.

So what are the top tips to achieving such fast track success?

Firstly you have got to gain market expertise. However this seems to be the weakest of the high growth mindset components, scoring the lowest amongst the 1,000 entrepreneurs that have tested their growth mindset online. Enjoy and become an expert in selling – not just for sales’ sake – but as a means of knowing your market. This knowledge will help you negotiate and exploit the marketplace.

If you are an online retail business, this means keeping a close watch on rivals’ prices on Amazon or eBay, and adjusting yours accordingly. And it needn’t mean “hard selling” either. Talk to prospective clients about what you have done for other brands, or explore the legality of selling in other overseas markets. Just because you sell in the UK, does not mean you can automatically do so abroad. Will you need to hire legal expertise to achieve this?

>See also: UK risks missing out on entrepreneurs amid housing crisis

What all these approaches have in common is a mindset geared towards selling your product and service. A good example is the start-up mortgage business entrepreneur who knew his market so well as to specialise in four types of loans, with brands in each niche market.

Secondly, you need to have business vision. This entails being able to visualise what success will look like at your company in future, both in the short and long term. Have a clear strategy; self-belief; and recognise that you will need the right people to help you achieve your goals.

Having this foresight amounts to a forward vision of the company, rather than a drive for growth. For most it will involve some soul-searching too. As the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh said, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”

Thirdly, you need to master active decision-making. Be self-aware and remember that relying too much on “gut instinct” can harm your business. It’s about taking active choices that can protect the creativity and risk-taking that support the entrepreneurial spirit.

>Related: Home-grown entrepreneurs and business success

As a counterbalance to the “gut feeling”, it pays when faced with a crucial business decision to do the maths, compile a spreadsheet, talk to respected colleagues and make plans. Equally important is to follow through on ideas; show a commitment to decision making. Don’t be held back by “analysis-paralysis”.

An aspirational approach

Fourthly, growth drive is about the aspiration of increasing the size of the business. It is built on the principle that if you are not growing as a firm you are going backwards. This characteristic scored most highly amongst the entrepreneurs and is clearly a key component of the entrepreneurial spirit. Fifthly, sales drive entails planning for future sales and achieving them.

There are many techniques. For example you can choose to switch supplier, thereby getting a grip on pricing. You could also explore expanding distribution, even going worldwide. Also, identify future developments in online retail: think about a microsite to your main website where you could sell accessories to your main product. And how about translating you web pages into other languages to reach new markets?

Finally you should look to embed a culture of Innovation within your business. It’s about challenging norms, doing things differently and embracing change. It is important too to be able to “join the dots”. Link innovation in your products and services to forging links to new markets.

Leaders of growth businesses are not blessed with an entrepreneurial gene – you can actively adopt and develop a growth mindset in order to achieve your business goals. And by knowing the make-up of your mindset, you can seek the right support in order to play to your strengths and make your business ambitions a reality.

Rob Turner, Head of the Growth Observatory at the Business Growth Service  

Further reading: Five key questions to ask during high-growth periods

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

Related Topics

Growth Strategy