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    Water a plant and it grows, but it grows by relying on a complex system composed of leaves, stems, roots, and a water transport system. Business startups that want to achieve organic growth versus growth through acquisition can learn from the plant world. Organic business growth is a process in which businesses leverage their capital and human assets to grow slowly and steadily while earning a profit. It is a business that intends on being around a long time rather than being one of the companies that experiences early explosive growth, gets heavily in debt, and then expires under its own weight due to lack of planning.

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    The business that grows organically successfully leverages its assets. For example, an increase in the number of customers leads to increased sales which generates profits that makes it possible to hire additional staff who then generate even more sales. Profits may be reinvested in a new marketing campaign, new equipment, new products and services, and so on. This is opposed to building the business on debt or relying on more and more investor funds to generate unsustainable rapid growth.

    Growing a business organically begins with a business plan that includes strategies for such growth. Investors will use the information to assess how the business will meet its growth plans and achieve a profit, and what the business owner will do with the profit when it is realized. The plans for growth identify how the business will utilize its assets to build strength by putting down deep roots in the market where it can draw new customers on a regular basis.

    Including organic growth plans in the business plan takes skill because such growth is built on all the business elements that include management expertise, personnel quality, methods of operation, marketing strategies, and so on. It is a bit nuanced as to how all the elements are blended together to create a growing, thriving business.

    Following are some suggestions that entrepreneurs should keep in mind when planning for organic growth:

    • Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals

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    • Set benchmarks or milestones for determining progress towards meeting goals
    • Identify strategies for maintaining quality customer services because this is a major area impacting the ability of a business to compete
    • Develop a personnel plan that includes strategies for retaining top talent, like compensation and benefit plans, challenging and autonomous work, flexible work schedules, and so on
    • Develop strategies for encouraging creativity and innovation, such as an internal social media network that keeps employees and management conversing and connected
    • Develop an external social media network that gives stakeholders easy access to the business, and use the conversations to continually strengthen customer service and identify new market needs
    • Identify risks but develop strategies for managing them when implementing new products and services

    Many business experts believe organic growth is the only true means of achieving sustainability. It does not depend on excessive debt but rather leverages assets and profits to slowly grow the business. When writing the business plan, include strategies for organically growing the business. Investors may be interested in the next great idea, but they want to make sure that idea will be around a long time.
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