A business owner and a male employee sit in an office brainstorming how to solve a problem. The male business owner is gesturing with his hand to make a point.
It is possible as a solopreneur to grow your client base and company. Cassie Kane, Founder of CEO of Kane Learning LLC shares her top four tips to spur growth. — Getty Images/Jakob Helbig

If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about how to achieve organic growth using the existing resources available to you.

In this edition of “Ask the Board,” we’re pleased to feature Cassie Kane, Founder and CEO of Kane Learning LLC, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in developing and delivering talent management, learning, and communication solutions for businesses with dispersed workforces. She shares tips on how you can grow your small business organically.

Organic growth refers to the process by which a company expands its own capacity using its own existing resources. Below, Kane explains what you can do to achieve organic growth as an entrepreneur or small business owner.

Build relationships

I grew my small business through the relationships I developed. In the beginning, when I was an independent contractor, I booked my first jobs by reaching out to people I had worked with in the past. They knew me and my work, trusted me to deliver, and were happy to support my new career goals.

I was able to grow my business by seeing each engagement as an opportunity to build on those relationships rather than treating it as a transactional activity. I continue to work with my first clients today, nine years after beginning my business.

I was able to grow my business by seeing each engagement as an opportunity to build on those relationships rather than treating it as a transactional activity.

Cassie Kane, Founder and CEO of Kane Learning LLC

Say yes to coffee

Sometimes, networking gets a bad rap. However, it’s crucial when building a business. I always say yes to meeting someone new or reconnecting with a past colleague. These meetings have led to new clients, new employees, productive partnerships, and positive word of mouth about the work my business does and how it supports our clients and community.

Don’t think of it as networking. Instead, view it as an opportunity to get to know someone and understand if there are common interests and ways to work together. It’s also OK when there are no immediate outcomes. I’ve found that many of the connections I’ve made turned into work or employees six to 12 months later.

Maximize your team

Every individual on your team brings unique experiences, knowledge, and talents. Tapping into them has allowed me to not only offer new services to my clients, but it has also enabled me to connect to my employees’ passions and interests.

Not only have we increased the services to existing clients, we have engage new clients as well. Connecting to employees’ passions and interests keeps them engaged with our clients and our company. Happy, engaged employees lead to happy, engaged clients.


Listening has been the single most valuable behavior in growing my business. Sometimes when we meet with a new client, we’re eager to tell them how we can support their needs.

Instead, ask a question, and sit back and listen to what they have to say. When I listen to fully understand a client’s needs, I learn about their organization, the immediate needs they have right now, potential needs I can support in the future, and the unique aspects of their team or business that are important to address. I also demonstrate that I care about them and that working with Kane Learning LLC is about more than writing a proposal or delivering a solution.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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