In recognition that entrepreneurial and business growth is closely tied to impatience, adopting a success modelling approach can certainly ‘fast track’ your success. Here are my top 7 must do’s when growing your business.
#1 Understand your compelling WHY
Think for a moment about WHY you do what you do? When you are able to answer not just WHAT you do, but elaborate the reasons WHY you do it, it will change the way you make decisions and the value you place on things. It’s the point you acquire real purpose. Your WHAT becomes nothing more than a means of delivering your WHY.
Be mindful of two common pitfalls. Don’t confuse your WHAT with your WHY and don’t fall into the trap of believing your WHY is solely about making money. The broad and diverse facets of building and running a business can be brutal and you will need a compelling reason to put yourself through it. Making money should be a measure of your success, the by-product of what you do. It should not be your primary WHY. Your WHY should be centred on making a positive difference and adding phenomenal value to others.
#2 Fulfil a gap, need or want for your target customer
Become fanatical about looking at yourself through your customers’ lens. Adopt ‘outside in’ thinking to ensure your customer is the focal point of everything you do, how you do it and you are fulfilling a real gap in the market. You want your business to fly so don’t invest all your life savings, energy or resources developing your dream unless it meets your target customers perceived need or want.
#3 Failing to plan is like planning to fail
You have to have a plan which translates how you’re going to turn your WHY – into reality. You cannot leave it to chance. You are the architect of your destiny and should have a three-year line of sight on target financial goals, a twelve-month plan detailing strategic priorities and a ninety-day tactical plan. Initially you will need to invest time to create your plan, but you will reap the benefits as you make regular reality checks against your plan to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t.
#4 Focus on your personal strengths and compensate for your weaknesses
In creating your plan there will be areas which you enjoy and are good at and there will be areas which are daunting. Here’s the great news. You don’t need to be great at everything! Put in place people, resources, partners who will support you. The growth of outsourcing functions such as HR, Marketing, Finance and the creation of virtual teams you tap in to as & when you need it means you don’t have the overhead/costs directly, but you do have the expertise to hand.
#5 Talk benefits not products and be obsessed with customer experience
Features of your product or proposition should become apparent after the benefits have been communicated, absorbed, and acknowledged by the customer. If your customers can answer ‘so WHAT?’ or ‘why should I buy from you” you have been talking benefits. Combine this with a healthy obsession with delivering an outstanding customer experience and the prize will be true differentiation from your competitors and greater advocacy among existing and future customers. Your customers then become your sales force!
#6 Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity AND…
…. cash is reality! Managing your cash flow is critical and can be what stifles your growth potential if you get it wrong. Your cash management strategy is fundamentally about one measure: your debtor to creditor ratio. Nearly every business is both a creditor and a debtor and proactively managing the ratio between these two levers is key to being able to fund your growth ambitions. You are not there to provide a free credit facility for your customers – don’t let your debtors treat you like one. Consider how creative you are in positioning your value proposition and the associated payment terms and your ability to negotiate effective terms with your suppliers and partners.
#7 Control the Controllable
The important thing is not to get overwhelmed. You cannot control everything. Master the art of controlling the things, which are controllable, and you’ll have a stunning platform for accelerated, sustained and profitable business growth.
Royston Guest is author of Built to Grow (Wiley 2016), a blue print to help entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals understand the guiding principles of accelerated, sustained and profitable business. See roystonguest.com for more details.