Our great city has been all the buzz lately.

  • GQ renamed us, “Nowville.”
  • A recent Gallup Poll distinguished us as one of the “Top Five Regions for Growth.”
  • CNN placed us in their third slot of “Cities Where Startups Thrive.”
  • Forbes included us in their list of cities that are “Getting Smarter the Fastest.”
  • Travel and Leisure ranked us third in its list of “America’s Best Cities.”
  • The New York Times wrote, “Nashville’s Latest Big Hit Could be the City Itself.”

And this is just a sampling of the wonderful press our city has recently received. With all the accolades, and because we Nashvillians are pretty awesome and live up to all the hype, our city is sure to attract more people, money and business. Is your company prepared?

Rather than waiting for time and customers to force your firm’s growth, chart your course ahead of time, so you’re prepared when opportunity comes knocking.

When prospects for growth appear, managers and business owners often consider adding team members, inventory and or infrastructure. Although those additions may be necessary, this approach to dealing with growth risks creating a bigger business that generates less profit. More work. Less money. What’s the point of that?

A better approach is to project your businesses growth rate and increase the efficiency of your people and processes to match, or better yet, exceed that rate. For instance, if you expect your business to grow by 20 percent over the next 12 months, your team members and your systems need to get 20 percent better over the next year. Efficiency is the answer.  Better people instead of more people.

How to Grow People– It may be that your team members are already contributing to their fullest potential. If so, your job as the team leader of a growing business is to help them to reach unprecedented heights. Here are a few ways:

  • Involve your team in business decisions– When your team feels a part of the business and invested in it, they’ll care and will help drive the company’s growth mission forward. Share company financials with your team so they know how the company makes money, how they fit into that process and how they can contribute.
  • Train and accept feedback – You can’t expect your team to improve if training only occurs during a team member’s first two weeks on the job. Training and learning must be continuous. Urge your team members to attend industry conferences or initiate a company book club. When your team members have the opportunity to improve, they will, and they’ll feel invested in and worthy.

Further, when a team member attends a conference and learns something new, allow them to share it with the group and then try it.  Don’t limit your team to sticking with “how it’s always been done.”

  • Maintain– When you lose a valuable team member and replace him or her, you’re automatically decreasing efficiency. Even if the new team member is a good fit, he or she will face a learning curve.  Appreciate, reward and recognize your hardworking team so you can work together to grow your company.

How to Grow Process – Many think selling more and generating revenue is the best way to grow your business. There is another way that I find more effective. Refine your systems and processes.

Think of it this way, your business keeps 100 percent of the money you save in perfecting your systems and increasing efficiency. On the flipside, your business keeps only a portion of the money you earn through revenue, because some of it has to go toward the costs of generating that revenue.

Examine and analyze the day-to-day functions of your business and work hard to perfect them. For example, you might find that you spend more money on printing than you expected. Initiate a paperless policy.

Our city is sure to grow and prosper, but it’s not because the big national media outlets say we will. It’s because we’re a close-knit community of ambitious people who are always willing to help each other succeed. We’re still a small Southern town at heart.

Watch out world, Nashville is going to leave a mark on you!


Originally published in The Tennessean.

Photo credit: <a href=””>Thomas Hawk</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>