Businesses go through slumps. Entrepreneurs find that when the business goes through a slump – they find themselves in the same position. Often to get themselves out of it, they go back to what has worked in the past. It is also hard that when the money is not coming in on the top-line that it creates very little room to manoeuvre and often makes one think that there is little that can be done to increase revenue or grow the business.
There is good evidence to suggest that a situation such as this is not without hope. Any business can be revitalised by changing your perspective. Many time the failing is that we hold on too tightly to what has worked, past successes and the “old way” but when we change our perspectives we have the opportunity to increase our creativity, our revenue and our influence.
This article outlines some of the growth tactics that you can use to make your business succeed.
Growth Tactic #1 Decide to grow
Successful entrepreneurs tend to have what is referred to as a “growth mind-set” as opposed to a “fixed mind-set”. In a growth mind-set, people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point, whereas people with a fixed mind-set believe their basic qualities, like intelligence are fixed and you will achieve what you set out to do. The person with a growth mind-set is open to achieving more, while the person with a fixed mind-set is set on achieving a specific objective.
By recognising the power of you mind, spirit and emotions you can overcome hundreds of hurdles, rather that moving through life one hurdle at a time.
Growth Tactic #2 Deconstruct challenges
If you put “start a company” or “develop a new product line,” on your to-do list the sheer scope and complexity of the project will overwhelm and paralyse you with fear and uncertainty.
Instead, break down projects into smaller tasks and rank them based on value and urgency. Then begin to execute or delegate projects in priority of importance. If you take projects step-by-step, you start to build self-confidence and momentum for the business, because the projects seem more doable.
Focused on tasks that you can solve in a day. By stacking smaller successes on top of one another, you can eventually build a business that starts to run on its own.
Growth Tactic #3 Build a rhythm through focus.
If you start building a rhythm with those around you achieve more as you adapt faster. If you meet your senior managers daily, you will move much faster than when you meet them monthly. If you only meet quarterly, do not be surprised that it takes many quarters for you to get to know what the problems are and how to fix them. If you speak about what to improve in the business – you will get improvement. If you do not – you won’t.
Processes are as effective as the frequency with which they are monitored. To have effective processes you have to increase the frequency with which you monitor and improve them.
Growth Tactic #3 Learn from mistakes – fail fast
When you develop a growth mind-set you begin to view obstacles differently. Instead of giving up when faced with these hurdles, you begin to view these situations as learning experiences. And the quicker you can learn and adapt to the environment and mitigate the risks you took and the mistakes you made, the better off you will be in the long term. The idea of “failing fast” is to make a mistake and to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
Growth Tactic #4 Persevere: Persist in the face of setbacks
Some problems can be daunting and difficult to solve, but few, if any, are impossible. If you become stuck, research the problem until you find solutions. Talk to experts, mentors, employees or anyone who might be able to offer insight. The solution may involve a number of steps but at least you have a clear path you can follow. To go forward – at least do something. You may have to change later but doing nothing if often the worst strategy.
Growth Tactic #5 Evolve your services
You must constantly look at how to evolve your services. What may start as a small bit of help that you give one customer will be a major profit line soon. Be conscious that every new service will be effort and you must evaluate return on effort. Diversification of the services you offer, within your core product offering has the effect of differentiating you from your competitor while making you not totally dependent on one revenue stream. Offering a diverse pool of services may help to take your business to the next level.
To develop a set of diversified services it is good to look at what others do, what your clients want and also to speak to subject matter experts, offering training to people as well as doing contract work for others. This gives perspective on what is out there. Study tours, studying and international exposure all gives different perspectives on new services that will change the game.
Growth Tactic #6 Leverage staff diversity
Hire people that know more than you do and get them to bring their creativity and input into every forum. Most entrepreneurs get stuck in trying to hire people that can do more of the same – but we need to look at people that bring different talents and experiences to the team game. This changes the perspective, as someone may be able to link you to an industry that you knew nothing about, or bring information about competitive practices into the main fold.
Growth Tactic #7 Go into new target markets
You must find ways to sell your existing products to new customers and to sell new products to existing customers.
The key to selling into new markets is to have a clearly defined product and to find new applications for it. It may require minor changes in positioning, packaging or content to give something a totally new target market, a totally new business model or a radically different revenue stream. By adding or removing one section, or changing a name you can shift into totally untapped frontiers and explore new revenue streams and business models. International markets are also a major opportunity for growth.
Growth Tactic #8 Network and Network and Network!
By speaking to more people about what you do – you get more business. One study ascribes the network of the founder or entrepreneur in a business as a critical success factor for long-term sustainability of this business.
What are you doing to get out there, or even better – to get people to come to you?
Growth Tactic #9 Use digital marketing to your advantage
People can’t call you if they don’t know you exist and today there are many ways to have relations with the public on a budget. But you must be consistent and strategic. Utilise Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, write blogs, Use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to organise and send your posts, make YouTube videos messages about your services and products, maintain and update your website, and utilise radio and print. Press releases, they may be “old school” but they are also a great way to get the word out about what you are doing, what you’ve done and what you can do.
Growth Tactic #10 Leverage alliances
Aligning yourself with a similar type of business can be a powerful way to expand quickly. You may be able to buy rather than build a new product and thus capture a whole segment of the market. You have to look closely at margins and make sure that costs are controlled – but you may be able to do much more in a short space of time with this approach. Also – reselling good brands reduces marketing costs, but be careful not to be consumed and remember to stay true to your purpose.
Growth Tactic #11 Register as a supplier
This gives you an opportunity to use the diversification of your team and alliances to pursue opportunities in a different environment. Someone wants what you and your team have to offer and they will pay you for it. Research how to do business with the government, internationally, and with corporate entities.
Growth Tactic #12 Replicating your business
Franchising, branching out or expanding virtually or internationally may be ways to grow your business reach without massive capital. Each has their advantages but look into how to grow to make the best of growth.