12 Steps to Double Your Business Every Year: Steps 1 – 3

Business Growth Strategies

6th January 2017

Gavin Preston

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1.Secure Your Growth Platform

When we go into risky environments we use safety equipment: a climber has a climbing harness, ropes, belays, a helmet and a climbing buddy; a construction worker wears a hard hat, a high visibility jacket, steel toe cap boots and gloves; a racing driver wears a fire proof suit, helmet and gloves and is strapped into a four point harness.

These measures increase our safety and reduce the chance of injury in the event of an accident. Crucially, we feel safer with these measures. This increases our confidence and bravery in the face of challenge.

To grow, your business must have a strong platform: sufficient funding/cashflow, cash reserves, systems, people, sales pipeline, marketing and an appropriate sized cost base.

Growth tests every aspect of your business, particularly accelerated growth.

Shortcomings in any of the above areas will cost you money, time, cause stress and potentially damage reputation. This will slow down or halt growth, burn valuable energy, bleed the enjoyment of growing your business and lead to a battle weary team. Just like the climber or the racing driver, knowing that the financial foundation of our business is secure and risk has been reduced gives confidence, reduces fear and fuels the bravery necessary to step out and grow.

Ensure the foundations of your growth are secure:

Cash: Build a cash buffer through good credit control and cost base management. Scour your costs for any unnecessary costs that have crept in, particularly small recurring payments. Ensure monies owed are collected promptly. Get money upfront. Save 10% of your revenues into a deposit account, your financial security pot, with the aim of having at least six months of business operating expenses covered. This financial war chest buys you time, options and reduces stress in the event of difficult times in your business or cash hungry demands of accelerated growth.

Systems: Do your team follow clear processes that are efficient and consistent or are they haphazard, full of unnecessary steps and deliver an inconsistent result for the customer?

Sales Pipeline: Having a healthy order book gives you the confidence for growth. Encourage customers to contract for a longer period, upsell/cross sell to existing customers, re-engage with former customers, follow up on leads.

2. Embrace The Game

The first question we ask when we have set a stretching growth target is ‘How?’.

‘How are we going to get the sales? How are we going to fund the growth? How are we going to build enough production/delivery capacity to deliver on those increased sales?….and the list goes on. Those questions build doubt, concern. Then when you layer over that media scaremongering about changes in the political and economic environment and emotions of worry or anxiety can build. That puts us into fight or flight.

In order to come up with creative solutions to problems and to evaluate alternatives you have to be calm so that your brain can access the part that does that computing: the celebral cortex.

How is it that top atheletes have the resilience to turn the situation when the odds are stacked against them into the fuel to get the very best out of themselves?

I am a fan of sailing and of five times Olympic Sailor Sir Ben Ainslee who will, in my humble opinion, be winning the America’s Cup for Britain (#bringthecuphome). I have watched with amazement how in most of his major sailing competitions it appears that things are going ok but not set up for winning and he turns into the ultimate comeback professional. He lands win after win after win and finishes the overall winner.

It is as if when the odds are stacked even higher against him it calls on the very best of him to come out fighting, deliver a phenomenal performance and win. It is as if he sees the extra challenge as part of the game and says to himself “bring it on”.

When things are stacked against you in business see it as all part of the game. Imagine how good you are going to feel when you win in spite of the challenges. See it as a challenge that you can and will win. This enables you to tap into the very best of who you are. Embrace the game. Bring it on!

3. It’s Not About You

Too many business owners/leaders fall into the trap of navel gazing.

They look inward, fixating on key performance indicators such as turnover, profitability, market share, conversion rates and the analytics from their website and social media pages. They focus on profit maximisation which can lead to a short term focus.

The ego comes to the fore.

The most obvious strategic next step becomes taking an existing product to new markets and focus on this can slow down product innovation, leaving your most loyal customers looking elsewhere for innovation. It’s not about you.

Turn your attention outwards to your market place and your ideal customer and focus on serving them. Continually ask yourself ‘What are the ways we can serve our customers and tribe (fan base who follow you) better?’ Take the time to ask your customers what are their aspirations and challenges. Understand so that you can serve. Deliver real value.

To watch a half hour webinar in which I take you through these points in more detail, click here.

I will be sharing steps 4 – 12 in a 30 minute webinar each Thusday in Janaury at 7pm. We follow this with 15 minutes of Q&A which is your chance to submit a question to me before hand for me to answer about growth in your business.

Click here to register here for the webinars.

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