Think Business — Is Your Business Fit to Grow? By Mark Richardson

Do you know what kind of shape your business is in? Do you have a plan to get fit … and stay in shape?

We are still in a growth environment. The housing demand remains robust. Home appreciation is solid. Interest rates are favorable. Unemployment is low. The stock market has seen healthy increases, creating wealth for many homeowners. All this adds up to a high level of consumer confidence.

Most building, remodeling and landscape businesses’ phones are ringing and many have backlogs of projects.

These are “make hay” times (times to stockpile). These are times that you can gain market share and see double digit top line growth. While there is a nice tail wind to allow for growth, there can also can be pretty significant growing risks. These risks, if not focused on, could cause many businesses to fail (or not see the returns that are out there).


An important question you should ask yourself today is not whether these are growth times but rather, “Are we fit to grow?”

I am pretty passionate about and a real advocate for growth. I do believe if a business is not growing, it is dying. However, I also know growth for many isn’t always wise. Growth without fitness is like going on a car trip in a vehicle with mechanical issues. Growth without fitness is like running a 10k race without training or being in shape.

The first step in this journey is to try to better understand what is fit. In my book, “How Fit is Your Business?” I take the reader through a business fitness checkup. This is sort of like going to the doctor and checking your blood pressure and cholesterol. Once you better understand business fitness, then you can determine whether you are fit to grow.

The following are a few of the criteria that you need to examine for business fitness (and before you push the accelerator down to grow):

  • Your product(s)
  • Your team
  • Your profitability
  • Your processes
  • Your leadership
  • Your stress
  • Your positioning

After you determine your basic level of fitness then you need to ask yourself, “Why grow?”

There are many motivators and reasons for growth; however, if you don’t have a strong and clear “why” then your success might be compromised.


Next, turn the spotlight on the existing business and ask some important questions. It has been said if you don’t know the answers at least know the questions.

The following are some questions that you should ask yourself before you embarking on real growth.

1) Are my products and services predictable and sustainable?

2) Are my clients delighted?

3) Do I know my numbers?

4) Do I have the processes and systems documented?

5) Do I have a stable and strong team?

6) Can I generate the leads required for anticipated sales?

7) Is the leadership aligned?

8) Do I have a clear vision of where I want to go?

9) Is the business well respected?

10) Are the team members ready and eager?

After you take some time to address these questions, you can then determine whether you are fit to grow. If some of these answers are fuzzy or “no,” then you know where to put your spotlight.

Try to engage other key team members in this dialog. Many business owners may have clear and positive answers; however, the team may not always be aligned with them.

In closing, growth is important! Growth provides you with increased returns. Growth allows you to move your game to the next level. Growth also provides the much-needed opportunities for your key team members.

The question is not should you but is are you fit and ready to grow?

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is an author, speaker, columnist and business growth strategist. He has written several books on business management including “How Fit Is Your Business?” and “Fit to Grow.” His latest book is “Control Your Day Before It Controls You: The 7 Steps to Mastering Your Time.” All of his books are available on He can be reached at