Top tips for business growth
Driving a small business forward is challenging for every business leader. Making time to work on growth when you are managing other aspects of the business is not easy.
Many business owners have a long list of goals, whether they’re starting out or an established business. However overnight success is not the norm and there is no “magic ingredient” to add to the recipe to guarantee instant results.
Nevertheless, there are ways to reach growth milestones that can accelerate a business to success. Here’s some tips we’ve collated to help you along your journey.
Better accountability leads to better growth.
The freedom of being a small business owner can become negative if you don’t hold yourself accountable for decisions, strategy and operations. If you don’t implement structures to ensure accountability then your business can suffer ill effects and you may jeopardise your company from being on a profitable upward track.
So how does a small business CEO, hold themselves accountable?
Admitting you don’t have all the answers is not a sign of weakness, in fact it’s the reverse. We all need another person with more experience in different areas from ourselves to evaluate our performance over time. Whether you have an existing contact within your network or perhaps need to look outside of your circle, touching base with a mentor is an opportunity to enable you to make yourself accountable.
- Written Goals
Align your vision with your goals. Goals are an important way to measure if we’re making progress or not. Making the time to write down your business goals to be implemented within established time frames is vital to make them become more than a vague idea. A business owner’s business goals are often related to their personal goals, so it is also important to be clear about these too.
- A Fresh Pair of Eyes
Owning a business can be an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Breaking the pattern of talking to the same contacts can be helpful. A fresh pair of eyes can provide useful feedback that can change your perception on an issue and also provide a level of support. Try and get out of your comfort zone and talk to new people.
- Masterminding Groups
Are the people you spend the most time with helping you with your personal development and business’ growth? A mastermind is a peer-mentoring group of individuals who meet on a regular basis (in-person or virtually) to push each other to work to their highest potential and hold each other accountable. Many successful entrepreneurs today, such as Bill Gates, use masterminds to help grow their business and work on their personal development. A mastermind group will give you feedback from like-minded people and motivated individuals who are not your customers or competitors, and can provide feedback about ideas without bias.
Innovate and stay fresh
Always be Learning. A stagnant mind may stifle creative inspiration. Allocate a certain amount of time each month to explore new ideas and developments in your industry. Find out the key influencers in your niche and what techniques they are developing. Take responsibility to stay ahead.
Be realistic and specific about your long-term goals and select your measures for success. Any goals set must have a time frame for completion.
Set up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to your business objectives.
- Collate and organise data
How will you create a process for tracking and reporting your business data? Make sure that all business processes are covered in your data collections, such as sales growth, market share, product quality, employees, training and budgeting.
- Track your actual income versus your goal income
Aside from the fact that this keeps you accountable, late payments can incur additional charges and reduce a company’s profits. A robust sales process and credit control process will keep cash flow on target.
- Track your expenses
Whilst this may not be the most enjoyable part of your activities, it is crucial to have an accurate overall view of your expenses so you can project your income and make informed decisions about allocating your budget. Xero is a great online accounts systems with many handy add ons, such as “receipt bank” to make your life easier.
- Track your competition
Whilst too much comparison can be unhealthy, it is very important to have an ongoing global awareness of what your main competitors are up to. Read publications and content relevant to your niche and also make sure you follow their press channels.
- Use marketing metrics
Your marketing results may be measured in the volume of new enquiries, store traffic, complaint rates, customer retention and many more.
- Track your employees
Employees who are passionate and motivated are crucial to your company’s success. Recruitment methods and retention, employee performance and satisfaction will help you to make important staffing decisions at the right times and enable you to monitor ROI.
- Analyse data
Continually analyse the information you’ve collected and draw insights to develop plans. Evaluation is vital to ensure that we track and learn from any mistakes, maximising the opportunities for success.
Follow the continuous improvement cycle to strive for growth.
Believe in your product and yourself
An entrepreneur needs to have self belief and determination to succeed but not at the expense of flexibility. The SME’s biggest weapon is the speed with which they can respond if:
- a) an idea isn’t working OR
- b) the market changes
My motto is “if at first you don’t succeed, redefine success”. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.