Why some business grow, hum along and make money and others don’t
The most successful growth strategy for your small business is found between your ears.
Strategies for building a beautiful business: Owning your own business can be a lot of fun and it can be rewarding at many levels. But for many small business owners, the experience is one of frustration and confusion. You’re the first one in the door in the morning and the last one out the door at night, often you’re back at it after the kids have gone to bed and most weekends there is some admin or quoting that needs to be caught up on. The kids are growing up and not getting the attention you want to give them and money remains as tight as ever.
I know the feeling. I’ve been a small business owner for over 30 years now and since 2004 I’ve been a business life coach supporting business owners to build and grow Great Small Businesses, what I refer to as a Fun Business (with a capital “F”), you can read more about what a Fun Business is in my books and also in a number of articles on my blog.
Also have a look at my page on business growth, including many resources on all about the 11 most important strategies to grow your business
But some business owners break through that stage and actually build Fun Businesses. Their growth strategy works, they make money, their staff are engaged and motivated, their customers love them and they find the kind of balance in their lives that is important to them.
What’s their secret?
Over the years, I’ve met those who have broken through and those who don’t, and I’ve learnt to spot what sets them apart.
The Big 7
The business owners I’ve met who do break through and do build Fun Small Businesses, all have these 7 things in common:
1. They’ve come to understand that their own time is the most precious resource of their business. They constantly ask themselves: Is what I am about to spend time doing, the most important thing for me to be doing right now, or should I be looking for someone else to be doing it instead of me?
2. They’ve learnt that being a great plumber/ architect/ florist/ software developer/ shopkeeper is only a very small part of what it takes to build a great business based on those professions. It can help and smooth the path in the early days, but to build a Great Small Business, the owner must become a great leader and learn to focus on the work of the business owner, rather than the work of the business. (Business development work in other words)
3. They have found the answer to the question: Why does your business exist, what is it on this earth for and why would anybody care? And then they are 100% committed to the answer; it drives their decisions and actions every day.
4. They’ve learnt to understand and even love their numbers. If you don’t understand and love your numbers as a business owner, you’re managing your business by keeping your fingers crossed, and that is not one of the recognised management techniques. (When I talk about The Numbers, I refer to many other numbers besides the financial numbers alone. There are sales numbers and productivity numbers and quality numbers and customer satisfaction numbers, etc. The trick is to find the key numbers of the health of your business and learn to manage your business by those numbers).
5. They hire the best people they can possibly afford and they learn how to give those people every opportunity to love coming to work and to get ever better at doing their work. There is not much as silly as penny-pinching on staff. The only thing sillier is not making it your absolute focus to ensure that your people love coming to work and do great work every day.
6. They constantly ask themselves where the opportunities are for systemisation. Whatever can be systemised, is… That doesn’t mean every restaurant must aim to be a McDonalds, but if something can be systemised… Do so.
7. They know they can’t do it on their own. They find great advisers and they ask them for help. (All about the most important forms of business support you can engage) Just because you are a business owner doesn’t mean you will be an expert at all aspects of business. You can find great consultants, advisers, coaches and mentors to help you in tax and financial management, leadership, marketing, HR, IT, staff management, sales and every other aspect of business you are not 100% confident with. Great sports people all have great coaches on board.
Those are “The 7 Secrets”, that all business owners who build a Great Small Business have come to understand and strive to apply in their lives every day.
Salvation wears running shoes
Now, just so we understand each other. Accepting these statements as true, doesn’t mean you will somehow automatically build a Great Small Business yourself.
To quote a religious friend of mine: “Salvation wears running shoes.”
In other words, it’s all about what we do with our insights.
But if you do print out those 7 Secrets as your growth strategy, laminate them, hang them above your desk and make it your mission to apply them to your life as a business owner, every day, you will start to build a Great Small Business, that sustains you for years to come…
I promise you.