The Fastest Way To Grow Your Business

Learning how to grow your business isn’t just a worthy goal; growing your business is often a necessity for your business’s survival and your economic well-being. What can you do to get your business beyond the bare sustenance level? What can you do to turn it into the income-generating powerhouse you envision? Try one or more of these growth strategies. All have been successfully used by other businesses and, with some planning and investment, will work for you.

Like many business owners, I wasn’t born to be an entrepreneur, I never planned on running a business, and I most assuredly had no experience in successfully growing one.  However, over the course of my nearly 23 years of business ownership, I have learned a few things that have helped keep the bumps and bruises to a minimum while maintaining double-digit growth year over year. Regardless of the industry you are in, you can be highly successful if you live by these very simple ideologies:

1. Know what you do and what you don’t do.

Some of the best advice I learned early on didn’t try to be all things to all people because it typically means you are not very good at any one thing. As such, I believe that it is a mistake to take on far-reaching service offerings, develop products outside your comfort zone or expand outside of your target markets just to make a few extra bucks. When you do that, you jeopardize your true strength to focus on what you may not be successful at and create undue pressures for your team, your budgets, and your company as a whole.

2.Ask for referrals.

That’s not to say that getting new customers is a bad approach. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask your current customers for referrals. But notice the verb. Having good products and great customer service and just assuming that your customers are passing the word about your business isn’t going to do much to increase your customer base; you have to actively seek referrals. During or after every job or sale, ask you’re the satisfied customer if he knows anyone else who would be interested in your products or services.

3. Stay focused on the prize.

We have always tried to be very strategic in our approach to growth. We set three-year business plans, track against those plans, and modify them when necessary. I believe that if you don’t set goals you have no way of measuring yourself, your team and your company against some pre-determined objectives. When everyone understands in a very crystal clear way what the overall goals of the organization are, it allows everyone to rally together and take pride in successfully accomplishing them.

4. Remember that people work for people, not companies.

It is rare when a business can successfully operate and grow without talented people. In fact, we often talk about our people being the only asset we have to sell and we are always looking for ways to improve our culture, our benefits, and the reasons why employees would want to keep working for us. I believe that many companies forget that true loyalty comes when employees believe that the organization and its leadership team care about them personally and professionally. This ultimately results in long-tenured employees, which has a very real and direct effect on company growth.

5. Innovate your product or service.

Discovering and promoting new uses for your products or services is a great way to both get existing customers to buy more and attract new customers. Think petroleum jelly and duct tape—and how few of these would actually be sold if they only had one use!

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6. Running a business well is different than being good at a trade or profession.

I have often said that just because someone is good in PR, it doesn’t mean they will be good at running a PR agency. The same is true for any profession. Growing a successful business is all about having a good business mind, combined with a strong skillset in your particular area of expertise. The behind-the-scenes side of the business–such as process, people management, billing, and operations–are critical to business success. I have seen a number of very smart people get into business only to ultimately fail because they didn’t look at their business through the lens of operational success, and instead focused solely on being good at their profession.

7.Time to Grow

There you have it; how to grow your business. Don’t let this list overwhelm you; pick one or two of these ideas that are suitable for your business and your circumstances and get your plan for growing your business underway. Quick-Start Business Planning will get you started.

While you probably won’t experience growth right away, whichever way of expanding your business you choose, you will see progress if you keep at it, and will successfully transform your business into all you want it to be.

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8. Passion is contagious.

When you love what you do it shows to the people surrounding you every day in the office, facility or production plant. Showing excitement and enthusiasm cannot be underscored enough in terms of how it relates to your team working harder, being more focused, and ultimately more successful at their job. This translates to a better end-product. The opposite can be said for someone who is an unhappy person, leads through negative motivation, creates a challenging work environment or frankly doesn’t love what they do.

6. Challenge yourself to always keep improving.

Technology is changing the world we live in every day. In order to stay relevant, it is important to innovate, regardless of your industry, as well as want to get better. This could mean new programs, new thinking or new processes. I believe that you are either moving forward or you are becoming obsolete. At Formula, we are constantly looking at our way of doing things and looking for ways to improve our end product, improve our client relations skills, and become more efficient at what we do, which ultimately drives greater profitability.

7. Forget the “Build it and they will come” mentality.

During a challenging economy, many brands look at marketing as an expense and therefore try to cut it from the budget. However, the marketplace is littered with good ideas that lacked the marketing support to gain traction or they were launched with the ideology of “our product is so great, that consumers will flock to it.” Consumers are incredibly discerning about their money; as a result, they generally buy products that they have either sampled or have been referred to them. Therefore, make sure that marketing is completely aligned with product innovation and roll-out to ensure that when the product is ready for retail consumption strong consideration has been given to how the product will be marketed.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for business success. It takes a combination of right brain strategic logic and left brain creative thinking to ensure that a brand or business is successful. However, the aforementioned recommendations will help alleviate some of the common pitfalls that many businesses face as they look to gain traction and acceptance.

8.Plan for business growth

Business growth can take place in many stages. These stages are a cycle, repeating each time you implement a change to your business. Which stage is your business in today?

  1. Start-up
    The business idea is created. Plans are put in place to start operating.
  2. Commence
    The business plan is complete and targets are established.
  3. Operate
    The business is operating and coping with any problems that arise. Systems are in place and, ideally, profits are made.
  4. Expand
    The business matures and needs to expand. Management changes or expands to deal with the size or complexity of the business.
  5. Review
    The business is very competitive. Activities are regularly reviewed and changed to achieve ongoing success.
  6. Diversify
    The business diversifies into new markets, products or alliances.

Whether your business has just started or is ready to diversify, it is important to plan growth so that it is controlled and properly managed. The following can help you plan for growth:

9.Set goals for growth

Establish what you want your business to achieve. Create a plan of short and long-term goals to grow your business.

10.Involve management and staff

Meet frequently with management and staff to review results and to monitor current performance. Encourage and motivate your staff to be involved in the growth of your business.

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