Reasons to optimise your business growth

Best Practice

May 2010


15 Reasons to make sure your business grows

This list was originally published as “why your business sucks” but that seemed both a little negative and missing the point of helping us grow our business. We felt it was better to both expand on this topic and make it more positive to assist all of us who work hard at finding better ways to grow and prosper our business.

  • Revisit your business plan regularly to re-align your current needs.
    • Our business is changing from week to week and while we all know the value of a business plan and creating a yearly, monthly or even weekly plan do you review this on a regular basis.
  • You have one way and one way only to contact you.
    • Multiple methods of contact are important to every business be it web, phone or fax. While many people are not using fax much anymore it is often still once of the most under utilised forms of communication.
      • Phone - Include on all of your communication including mobile details for out of hours contact
      • Website - We recommend creating forms for contact. Some of the resources you can use for this http://www.emailmeform.com/ and you can setup an account here both for FREE or a monthly account for less than US$10.00
  • Advertise once a week with no surprises.
    • Advertising takes many forms and this can be via some of the following formats not just newspaper or magazines. Having spent a number of years in the media it is a big surprise just how many businesses waste their marketing dollars on “feel good” advertising with no call to action and pat themselves on the back for how good these adverts look and feel to them. Reality is that unless you are Coke, or Fedex no business can afford to waste a single dollar of no ROI advertising. Some forms you can use with little or no cost include:
      • Newsletter - Build your list to send regular updates
      • Social Media - Make an effort to spend at least a couple of hours per week building your profile and pointing back to your website.
      • website updates - Make a plan to update your website at least on a weekly, monthly basis so your visitors continue to see change and a reason to revisit to put your business name in front of your prospects and customers.
  • Do not silo your teams.
    • The people you work with are very important to your success. You can build on this by finding way to capture and use their input in the development of your business plan. In the end yes it is the business owners dollar who makes the decision without team input there may not be any business.
      • Regularly ask for suggestions on improvement.
      • Thank team members for their input, even if the idea is not used.
  • See the people, and not just the numbers behind the people.
    • While the numbers are important to the business without the people can the numbers sustain. Often a business will loose a staff member and there is a downturn but if you have built in good procedures this temporary loss can be turned around.
    • It may be important to be frugal with spending although it is all too easy to go over the top on this and in the aftermath fail to achieve the desired result.
    • Spend some money on the people behind the business and find ways to reward those team members who contribute to the biggest success of the business. This could be as simple as a weekend away with their partner or other low cost high perceived value rewards in the scheme of growth over a coule of years.
  • Update your website on a regular basis.
    • If your business has a reliance on internet presence then you should update regularly. If you do not have time to do it yourself maybe this needs to be allocated to an external resource where you provide the information and they perform the mechanics.
    • You do not have to have all of the latest bells and whistles but it is important to have an informative place your customers can find information which is why they come to you in the first place.
  • Can you offer more than just one payment option.
    • While this may be an obstacle to doing business all of the different payment options come at a cost so you need to weight up if having more options will give you additional sales.
  • Do you cut corners on investment.
    • Investment comes in many forms and not just bricks and mortar.
      • Invest in your people.
      • Invest in training on a regular basis.
      • Invest in out sourcing where you do not have the expertise via an internal staff person.
  • Can you measure your results
    • Measuring results is one of the primary keys to business success. Some of the key numbers include:
      • Average days of debt repayment
      • Average days of conversion of new clients
      • Incoming leads to outgoing advertising investment.
  • Are you staying focused
    • It is easy when there are some offbook funds to push them into the wrong area rather than reinvest back into the business.
  • Does everyone have an opportunity to voice an opinion
    • In many organisations it is only one voice that has an opinion although the truth we all know is that many minds can often show clarity to a particular problem Do you let everyone have an opportunity to share their opinion.
    • Often have only one voice means there is resentment build up within an organisation which can lead to staff either by passing policies or doing the exact opposite.
  • Do you believe automated phone trees are the best thing since sliced bread.
    • Most of us want to speak with a real person, how quickly a caller can do this can often change the customer opinion for the positive. In your organisation do you have multi level phone selector systems. In most cases the prospective callers are turned off by this action.
    • Make it easy for “especially prospects” to speak with a sales person.
  • Have you put your plans for Social Media on hold
    • Social Media has it place in business development but don’t put all of your eggs in this basket. Nominate a person to manage this, allocate a budget and have real measurable ROI placed against this activity.
    • If possible make sure that the person responsible for your social media activity be mindfull of the volume of wasted activity in this area.
  • Pay attention to the smaller fish
    • Often the smaller sales can help improve both your cash flow and business growth. Of course it is nice to get the “blue whales” sales although the loss of a couple of these can severely affect business growth.
  • Finally review this list on a regular basis to find some of the small areas that can assist your business
    • Not everything on this list will suit everyone but if only one item helps then you may be able to expand on a couple of others.

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