Businessman shows economic growthEntrepreneurs are optimists. Otherwise, why take the risk to go into business? The downside: when the entrepreneur is planning her business, the optimism translates into the classic “hockey stick” explosive growth that few businesses can hope to achieve.
Growing a business takes discipline and planning. And, planning is not done when the business plan is written. Plans are revised and changed often. Smart entrepreneurs who grow strong, lasting business usually follow these three rules:

1. Start Small – many entrepreneurs think that everyone in the world is their customer. Not so. By trying to service and market to everybody burns up valuable time and resources and usually has minimal success. Find a small niche of customers that you can wow. Not everyone is your customer.

2. Grow in Chunks – once you have nailed your offerings and can consistently wow your niche customers you can then consider expanding to a new niche of customers. This allows you to refine your products and services to cater to the needs of the new customers. This also allows you time to create better systems to support your existing customer base as well as hire and train any additional staff to handle the new customers.

3. Make your Product or Service amazing – businesses that truly achieve excellence continually question and listen to their customers with the goal to continually improve. As your customers are wowed through amazing products and services, they become your sales staff and business champions. You don’t need million dollar ad budgets and marketing plans to promote your offerings; your customers will do that for you.

Growing a business is a challenging task but very doable. All it takes is 3 simple rules.


David Oetken is the Director of the Louisville Small Business Development Center. He can be reached at


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