There are obviously many ways to increase the size of your business but I am going to drill down on some specific areas in your business, making it easier for you to focus and therefore more likely you will succeed and profitably grow your business.
“Since working with Peter my profit has doubled in six months” – Nigel Stephens, AS Technology
Identify what is stopping you from growing
Are you still as motivated in your business as you once were? It happens to lots of business owners, they start with a great push of energy but this becomes dissipated and they lose their drive. Perhaps you feel you are busy enough and you are running up the escalator but remaining where you are.
Have you lost your focus? Perhaps you are brimming with ideas but it is the finishing that lets you down. Lots of business owners get bogged down in tasks or forget to do tasks because their day-to-day is too busy.
Where is your support coming from? We all know that running a business can be a lonely affair. There is no-one to bounce ideas off and no peer-to peer discussion. Sometimes a business owner will start with a plan to do something but they just need to sound it out with someone.
How is your cash-flow? There are times when you might look back at the accounts and wonder how so much activity can result in so little left in the bank at the end of the month. You might have slow paying customers or outstanding debt over 90 days. There may be money tied up in stock that moves slowly or not at all.
Are your staff causing issues? The team around you needs to be strong and supportive and they need to be working together. To paraphrase Jim Collins in ‘Good to Great’ – are the right people on the bus, sitting in the right seats and all facing the same direction?
Are you bouncing from crisis to crisis? Business owners often allow ‘upward delegation’ where their staff pass things up the line of command – instead of down. This means you are constantly interrupted and you spend most of your time solving their problems.
Do you have customer service issues? When orders arrive late (or not at all) or customers are not kept informed regarding their order or customers do not return because of poor service – this is a familiar state of affairs in a stagnant business.
Do you Market your business properly? If your product or service does not deliver a perceived benefit by your customer, you do not have a business. Think about how your Marketing messages are read by your target prospects – make them resonate with what your prospect wants.
Is there strategy in place for growth? Often the business owner will not have any long term aim or Business Plan and there is no strategic view on how the business will survive. Even short term goals can provide some focus and get the business out of trouble.
Are you suffering from the three B’s? This is ‘Busy But Broke’ where the business owner is running about like the proverbial fly. If your pricing is ‘cost plus margin’ you are exposed to this. You also need to know who your most profitable customers are and who are your least profitable.
Do you lose customers almost as quickly as gaining them? With a focus on customers you move the game plan so that your product or service is not just a commodity item where you are only measured on the price.
Is there a Sales process in place? Without a Sales process it is difficult to measure how successful you are at each stage, from the first enquiry of a prospect into the conversion of a customer. Perhaps you have a Sales team that are not performing well enough. This can be fixed.
Do you stand out from the competition? Marketing is where you shape the ammunition and Sales is where you fire it at specific targets. You need to differentiate yourself from your competition and move away from being measured just on price.
Do you have a lead generation system in place? Lots of business owners believe the ‘word of mouth’ system is adequate but that will never bring the doubling of profit that is being advocated here. You need some help in identifying the best business generation methods.
What is ‘cross-selling’ and ‘up-selling’? When you sell more to your customer than they were thinking of buying by suggesting other products or services, you are up-selling – “would you like fries with that?” When you ask “who else in your organisation (or family, or friends, etc) would benefit from this?” you are cross-selling. Most people do not do enough of this.
Do you have customers that are ‘raving fans’? This is achievable by creating that ‘wow’ factor for your customers. It is not enough to be providing a satisfactory service, you need to be aiming for a sensational service.
If any of these questions resonate with you don’t worry – help is not far away. It was Audrey Hepburn that pointed out the word Impossible breaks down to I’m Possible.
Peter Dickinson of Harrogate Business Advisors has a track record of delivering growth and doubling profit. See the customer video testimonials on www.hbadvisors.co.uk.
Call 01423 550175 for a confidential discussion and find out how all of this work is underwritten by a Government subsidised service.