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Growing your business: 6 tips from highly successful companies

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If you’ve wondered what you can learn from the best companies, you’re not alone.

Various studies have looked at the highly successful businesses and the entrepreneurs who run them. The researchers found several common traits that set them apart and can help put your company on a sustainable growth trajectory.

 Here are some key findings.

1. Create a must-have product

A 2014 study of the world’s fastest-growing new companies found that all of them had a “must-have” product that fostered loyal and happy customers, according to digital marketing expert Morgan Brown, who conducted the study.

Product is the foundation of growth,” Brown said. “Without it sustainable growth is impossible.

2. Plan strategically

It’s a common adage: Entrepreneurs should put effort into working on the business, not just in the business. At highly successful companies, entrepreneurs step back from day-to-day tasks and make time to plan for the future.

Brown’s 2014 study underlined the importance of planning. Quickly expanding businesses don’t magically stumble into their success, he found. Rather, their growth is the result of careful planning and “meticulous growth strategies.”

3. Delegate and empower employees

It’s one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do, but also one of the most important: Delegation. As your company grows, you will need to find managers with complementary skills to yours, gradually handing over responsibility to them, while keeping overall control of your company.

In 2014, Gallup studied the entrepreneurial talent profiles of 143 CEOs included on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. The CEOs with high talent for delegation posted an average three-year growth rate 112 percentage points greater than those CEOs with limited or low delegator talent.

4. Harness technology

A BDC survey of 4,000 Canadian entrepreneurs in 2015 found the companies with the strongest revenue growth were about two times as likely to invest in information technology as those with zero or negative growth.

5. Innovate

Another BDC study found that the most successful businesses are more innovative. They offer new products and services more often, adopt technology faster and embrace innovative practices, including improvements to operational efficiency.

6. Get outside advice

The same study found leaders of fast-growing businesses tend to tap external advice and expertise, including advisory boards and consultants. They also connect with networks of other business owners who can offer tips on managing growth challenges and share their experiences.

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