I am often asked, “How do some small businesses manage to grow and thrive while others perennially struggle and miss opportunities that come their way”? In our experience, the most successful business owner display some clear patterns and habits both in constructive and positive ways as well as making the same mistakes, many of which are avoidable.
Here are our top 10 secrets for achieving growth even in a poor economy:
- Grow to survive – Many small or local businesses assume it’s best to reduce offerings to survive tough times. While this seems intuitive, many times the answer is to do just the opposite. Before cutting back and shrinking your business, consider first whether changing your strategy and tactics and or re-allocating resources might help.
- Check your ego – You know your business inside and out, but that doesn’t make you an expert at running it. Smart business owners know what they don’t know. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and then, take it.
- Remember what got you there – Many entrepreneurs seem to forget who/what helped them get started. If you have investors (think beyond those who gave you money), keep them apprised of what’s going on. Good communication is key. A good investor is an invaluable resource and can often times provide suggestions and other resources, so keep them involved.
- Share your knowledge – In today’s business world, success and influence are in the hands of those who share their ideas and information. Sure, you might lose a little competitive edge by sharing your secrets. But you will gain significant influence, and perhaps even greater success. So when you’ve found a great tool or solution, or gained insight, tweet it, blog about it, author an article, post it to Facebook, etc.
- Hire someone to watch what’s important – Lack of strong advisors in strategy, tactics and finance could be the only thing keeping you from reaching your business and financial goals. Find well-qualified people who share your vision; then step back and take their advice.
- Don’t give up – Stick to your mission. Many would-be success stories end prematurely because they give up when challenges mount. Don’t let obstacles stop you. Arm yourself with market knowledge and an expert team and push through.
- But recognize when to change direction – Still, there are times you may need to change direction or call it day, and having the courage to do so can be liberating. Let the world take a turn and then come out swinging. You may end up with a clearer picture of what will or won’t work.
- Cash is often times still King – A common challenge we hear from our clients is that their business is running out of cash. While the sun is still shining on your business or before your financial picture has a chance to turn, meet with lenders, landlords and others proactively, to see if there are opportunities to restructure any debt, payment terms, improve cash flow, etc. Having cash on hand is critical for staying afloat and continuing to grow.
- Get more when you have more – Don’t wait for things to slow down. Your business is an engine that needs fuel regularly. One of the biggest mistakes we see is when things are good and business owners “let it ride”. The best time to “get more” is when you “have more”. One of the most important things is to try something “different” when you can afford to do so. As an expert in your business, you know what do to in order to succeed but there are many additional ways to get creative and grow regardless of what business you are in. Waiting until you really need business kills your ability to think and act creatively. Operating in desperation mode rarely if ever results in a positive outcome.
- Have an exit plan – Know where you stand in the marketplace at all times. That includes what your potential is, and what it will take to reach your potential. That way, when opportunity knocks, you’ll know what to do. Again, don’t be afraid to seek outside counsel from experts to assist and support you with this.
Have a question about growing your business in tough times? Reach out to us at: www. AchievementIndex.com for a free, no strings consultation!
John Garofalo is a performance coach focused on getting results working with Business Owners, Presidents, CEOs and leaders who among other things are frustrated they are not growing as fast as they want and or need. For a no obligation discussion, you can contact John at: John@Achievementindex.com or by calling: 609-693-1430.