Business growing or dying

- Simon Buck

Ensuring Your Business Grows

IT’S THE PLIGHT of many a business, sales are steady, things seem good but over time there is a case of the disappearing profits. So whats happening?

Why does a company that is going well, keeping its best customers happy, and retaining good employees seem to be slowly going under?

It’s simple than you think and all too common.

Retaining customers without increasing prices, keeping employees who get pay rises, staying with suppliers even though prices may rise 1% or 2%. It all adds up, and your profits magically fade into thin air…

So, what can you do about it? Well, there are solutions and to be blunt, one very important solution… Focus on commercial growth.

In business as in life, you’re either growing or you’re dying. Take a look at your garden, the trees can’t stop growing, or they wither and die. You have to think of your business in the same light – growth or death. And given that death is probably not a viable option, let’s go for growth.

So, how do you ensure you’re always in growth mode?

Before we get to the top nine ways to keep growing, remember that it doesn’t just have to be sales growth; it can be growth in many areas of your business…

  • Top line revenues growth – always a favourite, getting more sales and revenues flowing makes cashflow positive and really gets the team fired up.
  • Bottom line profits growth – my personal area of passion, getting more pounds in the top line doesn’t seem as much fun if there isn’t more left over for the owners.
  • Product or service lines growth – often seems harder than it really is…
  • Team or staff growth – so often new people bring new ideas and new business to handle growth in other areas…
  • Geographic growth – opening new territories again leads to other growth…
  • Other growth – so many other areas that you can open yourself up to… Whatever the growth focus you have, remember the simple story of the tree, either growth or deterioration. So, my top nine strategies for immediate growth in companies I start coaching…

1. Raise your prices – Simply put, if you haven’t done it in the past year, you need to. Most business owners are scared stiff of moving prices, but the reality is, very few customers ever complain or even notice a 10% shift. The ones who complain are already complaining about your prices. Just test it on a certain range if you don’t believe me.

2. Add on sell or package – You never get to leave McDonalds without the obligatory ‘would you like fries with that?’ Learn from their systems, what can you add on, or how can you package your services and products together to get people buying more every time they do business with you?

3. Debt collection – I know it’s not really growth, but too many companies have no debt collection system in place. Make the letters, calls and emails happen on a set schedule so people know to pay on time.

4. Newsletter – Just a simple monthly few quality pages is where it can start and eventually turn into a masterpiece. People love to know how to buy from you again and again, teach them what’s happening right now so they stay in touch and see you often, even when they are not dealing with your business .

5. Entire range – You’ll be amazed how many times a business owners hears,“Oh, I didn’t know you did that,” from their customers. Make sure you have a marketing piece or strategy to keep every customer or potential customer on your database (yes you need a database of every customer) aware of everything you do or sell.

6. Sales training – Probably the biggest area of growth potential for any company with a salesperson or two. Doctors, sports stars and almost every other profession needs constant training, so too do salespeople; keep them learning and closing more and more deals.

7. Referrals – Most companies make it so hard to refer people, how can you make it simple?

8. Test and measure – you cannot manage what you do not measure. You’ve got to know your numbers, everything from how many new leads you got today down to your break-even numbers. Learn your numbers and you’ll be far more in control and far more profitable.

9. Follow up your prospects – every time I go shopping, it blows me away how many companies never ask for my details, never call me back, never send me anything. You think that is too pushy, you’re right, but the so called ‘pushy’ companies are the ones getting the clients.

No matter what, put growth on your agenda. Set new goals, sales targets and challenge yourself and your team. Ask big questions and the chances are you’ll get big answers.

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