Five Ways to Grow Your Business
February 26, 2018
"Slow but steady wins the race." While this may be true in life, it may not be what you want to hear when it comes to business. You, like many business owners, may think that the faster your business grows, the better. However, that’s not necessarily the best approach. In order for a business to grow and not run into problems, it needs to grow at a sustainable rate through consistent, effective efforts. Whether you’re just starting your business, or you’ve been at it for years, there are several steps you can take to sustainably grow your business to the next level.
Make Strategy a Regular Event
Planning is vital if you want to grow your business. That means you need to step away from the day-to-day operations and look at the big picture. What has worked for you in the last quarter? Or even in the last year? What hasn’t? Are your goals still relevant? How will you reach them? What is your competition up to? How can you continue to deliver quality products or services and compete with them? Regular strategy sessions will help you visualize next steps and provides an opportunity for you to bring in key employees and brainstorm. Researchers found that by talking with employees in settings like this, rather than simply issuing orders, you will promote operational flexibility, increase employee engagement, and create tighter strategic alignment.
Know What You Do and Don’t Do
You can’t be all things to all people, and your business won’t grow if you try to. It is a mistake to offer far-reaching services or to develop products outside of your comfort zone. In fact, doing so will probably backfire and weaken your core offerings. Look instead at the success you’ve seen in your business already. Whether it’s a product or service, look at what’s performing and decide how you can optimize that. Taking your core products or services making them better and better can be a more direct route to growth and success.
Drop What Isn’t Working
After making strategy a regular event, and focusing on what you’re good at, it’s time to take a look at what isn’t working. Maybe it’s a sales method that isn’t performing well, or a product or service that isn’t working out. Whatever it is, look at it, and determine if there is a way the problem or process can be improved. If you’ve already done that and it is still leaking time and resources, don’t invest more energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on and make room for something new.
Obviously as you grow, your staff will need to grow with you. Since your business is only as good as it’s people, you need to make the right decisions when it comes to hiring. First of all, it’s a good idea to set up interviews with multiple job candidates. That will prevent you from making a premature decision when there are other applicants that may be a better match. Make sure your prospect will be a good fit for your company, but also make sure they feel they will fit in. Keep in mind that diversity strengthens organizations, so look for people who can bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to your company. And lastly, hire slow, extend the interview process, and perhaps involve shadowing, or group interviews in the hiring process.
Learn How to Delegate
As a business owner, your to-do list is probably longer than the hours you have available in a day. There are so many things to do, and so many things that require your attention that it’s a wonder you get anything done! Keep in mind, the harder you push yourself, the more likely you are to end up exhausted and stressed. The answer is not to continue to spread yourself too thin, but instead to learn how to delegate. With upfront effort, and proper communication and training, you can free yourself from the details, effectively let go of some of the day-to-day tasks and focus on building your business. Many business owners are also choosing to outsource a variety of projects, especially if it is a highly specialized task – like payroll – or if it is something that can be handled better and more efficiently by an outside firm.
Bottom line, slow but steady does win the race. Take time to step outside of the day-to-day, look at your whole business, stick to your strategy, and keep your eye on the prize. Remember, growth does happen, especially when you approach it systematically.