Steven S. Little (pictured), a business growth expert, is keynoting the Kaseya Connect User Conference today in Las Vegas. He's onstage now, sharing the seven key steps for building a sustainable growth business. No doubt, the tips apply to managed services providers (MSPs), VARs and privately held SMBs. Here are the tips, straight from Little.

To build a sustainable growth company your business needs:

1. A Strong Sense of Purpose: "Making money" is not a sense of purpose. Find your purpose first and it will lead to wealth accumulation.

2. Outstanding Market Intelligence: Your organization must recognize and then adapt to fundamental change in your company, industry, community and within your self -- and then to proactively do something about it.

3. Effective Growth Planning Systems: It has to be written, well communicated and regularly updated. Only 12 percent of privately held companies in the U.S. and Canada have that plan. Plans don't cause growth. But they are highly correlated with growth. If you analyze companies that grow 20 percent annually for five years, chances are they have an effective, written growth planning system.

4. Customer-driven Processes: An example: A hotel that sells food in a kitchen and beverages in a bar... forcing customers to place two separate room orders for a sandwich and a milk shake...

5. Power of Technology: But don't let systems make you stupid.

6. Find, train and retain the best and brightest people possible: This is the most important predictor of a sustainable growth company. Employee retention equals customer retention that drives growth.

7. Seeing the Future: Business growth leaders get really good at seeing the future. "You and I can't predict the future," said Little. "But some organizations appear to predict the future because they're on the leading edge of their industry." For instance, companies study population shifts to understand where customers will live, how they'll live and what they'll need.

Little went into deeper details on each point. He captured the room's imagination. And lots of people were busy taking notes...

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