Growing your business
The first step is STOP and make time to reflect and plan. As the owner and /or leader in a business the ‘needs to be done now’ never ends. However, as the owner and /or leader of the business you are the only one who has the perception, interest and authority to reflect on what is doing one, prioritize what needs to happen and judge the outcomes. You have to stop and make time to reflect on what has happened, what is happening and what needs to happen.
Make time for it everyday. Even 5 minutes a day thinking about (1) the things I have to finish today and (2) if time allows, the one thing I want to try today will help you construct a wall of success with each day. Reflections are an honest inventory of your entire business.
Reflect on the NOW
Start by taking inventory or your assets and experiences. Think about your past experiences, successes and failures ONLY as information to help you move forward now. In other words do not dwell on the success or failure of past experience only how that experience can help you in the future. When taking inventory you can start with your hard assets vehicles, equipment,etc, but do not forget your team, their roles and their strengths and weaknesses. Next take a quick inventory of your strengths and weaknesses etc. Dissect what worked from what did not work and why. Take an inventory of your business. How do you make money? What things do you seem to do that don’t help you make money. What is your most successful product, service, project etc. Make note of marketing campaigns that worked particularly well, or things that you started and stopped. Jot down any innovations in your work process that helped or hurt. If you are great at doing the actual work that is an asset. If you are a awesome marketer that is also an asset. If you have a great sales team that is also an asset. Spend some time thinking about these but don not hurt yourself coming up with the list. Chances are somewhere in those top 5 is a key or two that will help you grow your business.
Figure out your best growth opportunities
Once you have your list start thinking about how these assets help you operate and/or build your business. A helpful tool is to put each asset under the one or more of these headings.
(1) Assets that help us connect with new customers.
* word of mouth advertising
* online presence
* lead sources
(2) Assets that allow us to performing the work
* operations team
* skills and techniques
(3) Assets helping us Customer service and support.
* customer support tools (online and offline)
* customer support team
* customer support philosophy
* communication tools
* office team
Your best opportunity is in front of you.
Your best opportunity is in front of you. It is the thing that has brought you the most business or it could be fixing the thing that is costing you the most time, resources or money and NOT performing the way it should be performing.
Focus on one implementation or one fix at a time. Break it into small manageable task. Moving too fast or too slow will be counter productive. When we implement new business processes or refine existing business processes we try to ‘shake the apple cart’ as little as possible while moving in the right direction. After each task is implements, take a breath. review the new process, is it performing well, does it need tweaking. Stay on it and make it fit or if you see it is a loser, get rid of it. Once you are on level ground, think about your next step and repeat.
My experience has been that success is both the sum of your failures and your successes. Taking the time to reflect and implement at a good pace is the best way to grow your business.