First, understand that growing revenues is a necessary but not sufficient aspect of growth. Thinking of growth exclusively in terms of revenue is like dumping fertilizer on a garden without watering or weeding it. Inevitably, the crop dies.
Second, growth is iterative. The process is repeated over and over again. In this sense there is no first or last step. Still, you can posit a starting point, a platform from which you begin and to which you return to measure your progress, assess your direction, and refine your vision.
One way to posit a meaningful starting point is to assess current reality and how it differs from what you intend to create. What are you experiencing now? What is working? Where are you dissatisfied? Look at both external, measurable factors such as sales, prospects, productivity, and experiential and qualitative factors such as engagement, enthusiasm, creativity.
Examine your motives for wanting new growth. Are you dissatisfied with current reality? Do you sense that something new wants to come into being? Are you feeling impelled by a creative drive? By boredom? Fear? Competition? Envy? List your motives without censoring them so that you can understand what is really true for you. Every motive is an expression of a sort of worldview. If you repress or misstate your motives, you are the prisoner of their worldview and unable to examine the underlying beliefs.
With your motives clearly in mind, take a look at how you are doing now. Measure how many clients you have, how much income you are earning, how much time you are spending delivering services, marketing, and administering your business. Review feedback from clients and look at what others in your field are doing that you admire. Talk to your employees, or rather, listen to them. What is the turnover rate? How happy are they? How engaged?
Look at how much you enjoying your work. What aspects of it bring the most joy? What sorts of clients or customers seem to benefit most from what you do and who you are? Where is the sweet spot where you add the most value with the least struggle? What are the key intangible sources of energy and inspiration? Again, ask your employees the same questions.
As you gather the qualitative and quantitative data about your business, reflect on the circumstances and choices that shaped these results. What were your goals six months or a year ago? What personal and professional factors have been at play since your last business assessment? ? What forces in the marketplace affected your decisions and your results? What were your aspirations and assumptions? Notice how current reality correlates with thinking, beliefs, practices, and intentions that were in place three, six, or nine months ago.