Wanting to build a successful business and actually doing so are two very different things. There are many “wantrepreneurs” who have lofty dreams and many entrepreneurs who aren’t able to achieve the levels of success they hoped for. Whether it is a failure to find product/market fit or a current lack of the necessary business skills, the failure to successfully grow a company is commonplace among entrepreneurs. We all want to avoid the pitfalls of entrepreneurship and build a successful company that exceeds our expectations. The reality is, this is really difficult to achieve. Although, from my experience working with many successful business owners and managers, there are some common steps that these people seem to take (and expect from OKMG) which accelerate’s their business’ growth potential. Integrate the following 10 tips into your business development plan and I’m betting you will increase your odds of long-term business growth and resilience.
1: Take Action
Focus on taking action, not just planning. It’s easy for business builders to focus their efforts on creating lists, planning for the future, and contemplating growth opportunities. While planning is definitely important, admirable and often necessary, it is the doers who get things done. If you want your company to grow, you must be prepared walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
In Jon Acuff’s book, ‘Do Over,’ he wrote of an accurate truth:
“Dreaming is fun. Future results are enjoyable to talk about. Present efforts are not.”
Of course, there is nothing wrong with dreaming or with thinking big and forecasting grand future results. However, once you have set your plan and strategies to takeover the world, the real work begins and you have to start taking action. Your businesses growth potential will then be directly attributable to the amount of work you are willing to invest.
2: Know Your Business and Your Worth
Never accept business offers or contract negotiations at face value. Business builders who understand their own worth are much more likely to secure favourable deals than those who simply accept what they are offered. When you know the worth of your company, your employees, your product or service offering, you are in a much better position to negotiate terms that take your strengths into account.
Without being arrogant, find the confidence to think and act like you, and the services you provide, are priceless. Only then will other people start to think the same and compensate your business accordingly.
3: Customer Feedback Should Fuel and Inform Your Growth
Pay attention to online complaints, feedback and reviews to grow your business. Monitor complaints about competitor’s products or look for remarks about what is missing in products/services within your niche. When you track online comments on an ongoing basis, you can uncover business opportunities others miss. Use a tool like SocialMention.com to mine social media platforms and forums for phrases like “I wish there was” and “anybody know'” in relation to your target industry. A little investigative sleuthing can uncover business opportunities or tweaks to your current product/service offering that may significantly increase your annual revenues.
According to BrightLocal in their annual Local Consumer Review Survey 2014 it was found that 88 percent of consumers surveyed said they consulted reviews either “occasionally” or “regularly”:
Although this survey was completed in 2014, what is important and arguably more relevant now in 2018 is that 9 out of 10 consumers have read reviews in the last 12 months to inform their decision regarding a local business. And 4 out of 10 consumers do this regularly.
If we know that people or those interested in your businesses services actually read your online reviews, the next logical question is whether they believe those reviews and whether their behaviour is influenced as a result. The BrightLocal survey goes on to confirm that, yes, online customer reviews do affect opinions of a local business with 72% of consumers saying that positive reviews make them trust a local business more:
4: Roadblocks Aren’t Barriers, They Are Learning Opportunities
Don’t let stumbling blocks on your entrepreneurial path stop you from achieving your business development goals. When something happens to limit your business growth, look at the event as an opportunity for business reflection and analysis. Discover the actions that led you and your company to the stumbling block, determine what you and your team could have done differently, and develop a plan-of-action to ensure the same stumbling block doesn’t impede your performance again. Mistakes aren’t something to be feared, they are an opportunity for you and your team to discover a better way.
5: Don’t Blindly Accept The Standard
Be willing to challenge pre-conceived notions in business. Question the status quo and don’t accept the standard “we have always done it that way” approach. One of our motto’s here at OKMG is ‘evolution is non-negotiable’. Just because things have previously been done a certain way or if ‘most businesses’ don’t typically do things in the way you are thinking of doing them, that does not mean your approach is wrong. Some of the biggest businesses have been built when an entrepreneur was willing to challenge the status quo (e.g. Travis Kalanick’s Uber).
6: Generate Sales, Not Just Marketing
Spend even more time on sales generation than you do on social media marketing. If you are doubling-down on social media outreach then you should be going all in on sales development. If you don’t have a stellar sales team, all the marketing in the world won’t help you close sales. Invest in recruiting employees with a proven track record of sales growth and do whatever is necessary to ensure other members of your team benefit from their sales experience.
One of my all time favourite videos on sales is the infamous Glengarry Glen Ross ‘Always be closing speech’ by Alec Baldwin. Watch the video, the message speaks for itself.
7: Immerse Yourself In New Ways Of Thinking
Look for growth opportunities in unusual places. Try reading history books to see how past civilisations overcame obstacles. Or read books on philosophy to understand how others think and typically react. Listen to podcasts from liberal thinkers or futurists pontificating on the future of business. Immerse yourself in different ways of thinking, you will uncover strategies and opportunities many of your fellow business builders miss. Be the lone wolf, not the sheep in a herd of sameness.
Build a network that supports your business. Take part in networking events focused on helping entrepreneurs like you grow. Surround yourself with people and organisations that believe in your potential and are committed to helping you accelerate growth for your company. If you find your current social network is emotionally draining instead of emotionally uplifting, it is time to rearrange your priorities and focus on developing a new social circle.
For an interesting perspective on how to expand your social network here is a Ted Presentation by Tanya Menon:
9: Work Smart
There is a great deal of chatter in entrepreneurial circles about working hard and constantly being in hustle mode. Don’t accept this pattern of thinking as your own. You are much better off learning how to work smart, instead of focusing all your efforts on working hard. If you can achieve the same (or better) results by working smarter instead of harder, why would you not opt for the wiser choice?
10: Don’t Forget Why You Are Here
Always remind yourself why you started your business in the first place in an effort to re-commit yourself to your goals. Don’t get distracted on the way to building a successful business. Many forget about the core reason they launched their company. When you make a habit of revisiting your “why” and focus your thoughts on the challenges you originally wanted to master, you give yourself the opportunity to reinvigorate your spirit and your priorities. This habit of continually centering yourself will do more to grow your business than you can imagine.
Learn to ask yourself (and your team) ‘why’ on a frequent basis to make sure there is a good reason for everything you do. Good business leaders use the concept of ‘why’ to guide and fuel their business growth, not reference the actions that other businesses have taken before them. For more information on how to think and find your ‘why’, check out Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’:
In my experience, if you make sustainable growth the focus for your company and a resilient business the outcome, you will find opportunities wherever you look. When other business owners grow tired or give up in the face of market challenges, you will be able to press on and your company and team will have the stamina necessary to continually grow. Keep these 10 tips in mind and you just might surprise yourself at how successful your business can be.
Get in touch with us today to find out more!