I am often asked for some tips on how businesses can encourage growth. Here are 5, with examples of their application.
1. Own your business, not your job
A common mistake business owners make is that they concentrate too much of their time working in the business, instead of on the business. They tend to work long hours and focus on getting the work done.
Our client Mazuma Accountants adopt the correct approach. Directors Lucy Cohen and Sophie Hughes get the business to work for them, with both only working four days per week. This allows them to plan growth and concentrate on building their business as opposed to simply owning their own job.
People who fall into the trap of simply working for the business end up being trapped. They don’t take holidays and get incredibly stressed as a result. We recommend that business owners spend five hours per week away from the coal face, working on the business.
2. Develop systems and implement processes
If you asked business owners what they would like more of, many would say more customers. What they don’t always realise is that their business would sometimes struggle to cope with a vast increase of work.
What we recommend is that clients’ develop their business model so it can adapt to changing workloads.
We are helping storage and third party logistics firm Pack-IT Group implement technology and software in to their business in order for them to cope with increased demand. They will be able to handle a vast increase of business as a result of forward-thinking and utilising software, not just additional staff, to cope with the surge in customers and resulting profit.
3. Know your market, and know what you’re good at
It is incredibly important to understand your niche. You can’t be all things to all businesses, so understand why people deal with you.
It’s vital that your sales process is clear, polished and easily transferable for new starters. Know your product, know how it can help your customers, and be aware that how you interact with people who buy from you is very important.
Working with telecoms, cabling and security firm TWL Voice and Data, we have identified through various forms of feedback, that one of the main features and benefits of the products TWL sells is themselves. Customers like working with TWL because of how they conduct themselves, how interact with clients and their focus on customer service – not just because of their products.
When a customer buys from TWL, they get their expertise, service and reliability; and it’s exactly this that is important when growing a business.
4. Know your ideal customer
Customers and clients will not make or break a business; but how you handle them will.
A startup business generally needs as much business as it can get to keep the lights on. However, there comes a time when the businesses is in a position to be able to pick whom to work with.
We come across a plethora of businesses who complain about poor clients. We call them D-class clients. They tend to have the same characteristics; they’re poor payers, they think you’re too expensive, they take up a lot of time which leads to over-servicing and most importantly – they drain energy.
We’ve worked with online specialists Liberty Marketing to encourage growth, and we’ve had staggering results. We’ve concentrated on securing and retaining A-class clients who praise, pay well, take up a reasonable amount of time and enthuse the employees who work on their account.
The ideal customer is someone who works in partnership with you.
5. Have a vision
In order to grow, you need to know what your business will look like in three, five and 10 years time. Develop a step-by-step action plan, and formalise in as much detail as possible what your business will look like going forward.
How many employees, how many clients/customers, how many locations, etc.
We’re working with events and media services firm Genero Productions on exactly this. In order to reach their goals and realise the growth, they need to know what that end target looks like, and then we can figure out what we need to do to get there.