Does every business have to grow to survive?

There are two different answers to this question.

Growth — when it means expansion — is not necessary for every business; indeed, it may bring the downfall of the business, especially if the growth is mismanaged. But, growth — when it means adaption or rejuvenation — is certainly essential for the ongoing health of any small business today. 

GroYourBiz Causes of Failure Chart

No one can afford simply to rest on their previous successes. No one can afford to be asleep at the wheel.

Whatever the motivation for growth, the decision to grow should be a decision, not something that just happens by itself. This is a managerial decision about how best to position the company in the present, for the future, based on the experience of the past.

Source: Karl H. Vesper, New Venture Strategies

Why Businesses Fail

Unfortunately, strategic management is often the most serious weakness of small business owners. Indeed, the most common reason for bankruptcy is poor business management — due to lack of management skills, lack of experience in the field, or imprudent decision -making, among others. Not surprisingly, small business owners are reluctant to accept the blame themselves, preferring to externalize the reasons for their poor performance. In contrast, the creditors of businesses that fail often see things differently. From their viewpoint, inefficient management tops the list by a long margin.

An excerpt from Your Business Matters: Strategic Growth by Ted James and Barbara Mowat