Running your on business is often hard work, specially till you manage to build momentum and getting things moving smooth.
If you're ambitious for your business, you won't want to hang about. So here are nine growth strategies to help you get the most from your time and effort as a business owner or as an entrepreneur.
1. Find the difference that makes the difference. Always look to do something, anything, differently. Just repeating what you've always done in the past really isn't good enough if you're looking to make significant progress. And if you aren't changing with the times, the market you're in certainly is, and by keeping on doing what you've always done, you are setting yourself up to be left behind, let alone achieve the growth you are looking for.
2. Learn from other industries. Don't blindly follow 'best practice' in your business. If you do, you should only expect to get the same results as everyone else in your industry. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, you need to look at other industries and sectors. Check out what they are doing and how they do it, then consider how you might apply their different approach to your own business to generate breakthrough ideas to really get your business growing.
3. Break the cycle of 'too much effort for too little result'. Restaurants continually look at the dishes on their menu to identify those that are popular and the 'duds', which they then remove. You can do the same by regularly reviewing the products and services you offer. When you identify ones that aren't very profitable, or are high maintenance in terms of customer service, get rid of them. Then either introduce a new product or service or use the resources and time you've just released to focus on your other existing opportunities.
4. Leverage to your advantage. Increase the number of channels you use to market your business, but don't try to use them all at once. Test each in turn and decide which work best for your products and services. Don't waste time on marketing channels that no longer perform well for you. You can repurpose your marketing content so that it can be used across multiple social media platforms. Aim for methods that allow you to scale upwards easily, like email, online marketing and social media. In this way, it takes no more effort to market to 10,000 potential customers as it does to 10. It's an approach that even the smallest company can use so don't ignore technology and how it can help you grow your business.
5. Measure, measure, measure. Get to know and understand the small - but crucially important - metrics in your business. While 'obvious' numbers like turnover and profit are vital, there are many other possible metrics to track and monitor. For example, the number of leads it takes to land a new client, or the number of presentations you have to make to do the same, the average value of your projects, and which of your markets is the most profitable. If you know these figures, you will have targets to achieve, or ideally improve on, by refining your processes and the way you go about doing business.
6. Understand the benefit of partnerships. Developing joint ventures and strategic alliances is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business fast. By working in collaboration with others, you get immediate access to their markets, providing you with the opportunity to promote to a whole new range of clients or customers and support each others' growth while also adding value to others.
7. Build your business by actively encouraging referrals. If you do a good job, why not ask satisfied clients or customers for the names of others who may be interested in your service or product? If you haven't yet put in place a simple, well-organised referral system, then make it a high priority. 'Warm' referrals are far easier to convert than 'ordinary' leads.
8. Make time and systems your friend. Increase the volume of work your business does by becoming an efficient project manager and effective leader, so that you get more done in less time. This doesn't mean making dramatic, leap-forward changes. Small incremental improvements consistently done, what the Japanese call 'kaizen', can build to deliver dramatic results. Put systems in place to streamline essential activities.
9. Don't aim for perfection, aim for completion. To get off the ground, be happy to be imperfect in what you do. Recognise that everything can always be better, but that if you try and make something perfect before trying to sell or provide it, you will never go to market. Instead, go for long term improvement by making a product or service 'good enough', then gradually making it better over time using feedback from your marketplace. Done is better than perfect.
And finally, if you want to really grow your business, make time to work 'on' it, as opposed to 'in' it, by applying strategies like these every day. Don't just sit back and expect it to happen naturally.
Above all, concentrate on what matter most, rather than 'sweating the small stuff'. If you spend an hour each day, preferably first thing in the morning, doing 'growth work', by the end of each month you will have spent say 20 hours of time dedicated to growing your business. That's at least 200 hours over the year, equivalent to a whole month of business building days.
Ready to take some action?
Let us know in the comments box below which of these 9 strategies you will start implementing first.
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Looking for more inspiration from the Award winning author, speaker and coach Maite Baron, then download 2 free chapters from her Nautilus 2014 Award winning book Corporate Escape The Rise of the New Entrepreneur. With the bonus that you will receive her weekly thought provoking updates. Get your download here.