Why is this so when the fundamentals of growing a business are pretty basic? I’d go as far as to say they’re simple. Yet, isn’t it so true the most simple and basic things in life are the things so often overlooked!
To this end, I’d like to share with you the 10 closely guarded secrets of business growth. Once learned you’d better take action with them as these nuggets of information provide you with the keys to unlock the door of exponential business growth.
When I say exponential I don’t mean 3 or 4% per year, as after all this is barely better than inflation. By exponential I mean 10, 20, 50 or even 100% or more growth year on year. Now the actual growth you’ll achieve will depend on a number of things, namely:
+ How well you take on board these ideas
+ How committed you are in taking action with these ideas
+ The industry you’re in
+ The quality of your offering
+ And many more factors.
To go into each of these ideas in great detail is not the remit of this article, I’ll save the details for future articles. For now, let’s uncover the 10 closely guarded secrets, so you’re able to benefit from a greater understanding of these ideas.
1. Understanding the 4 Key Questions of business growth – which are, how do we: + Increase the number of customers? – This is the area most companies spend their entire time.
+ Increase the average order value?
+ Increase the average order frequency?
+ Increase our retention of customers?
2. Perception of price and “price positioning" – the number of times I’ve seem people give away discount to customers, without the customer even asking. The main reason being the salesperson was not comfortable with the price in the first place and did not truly understand the value proposition of the product / service. Therefore it’s essential to set the price appropriately, ensuring your salespeople understand the true value proposition of your offering.
3. Systematising the Process and Personalising the Service – There seems to be a myth nowadays that if you put a detailed system in place you lose the personal touch. In our experience this could not be further from the truth. By adopting an appropriately structured system we can increase our success by better answering each of the 4 Key Questions mentioned in Secret 1. By creating clearly defined systems in your business, you’ll take the guesswork out of doing business, and free up your people to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience!
4. The lack of knowledge of the 10 Key Factors of Influencing with Integrity. In a lot of business interactions, customers walk out the door of a business without buying. There can be a number of reasons for this, but the most often quoted are the customer was either undersold on the products or services or because they felt as if the sales person or sales process was trying to manipulate / force them into making a decision.
Furthermore, isn’t it astounding how many people do not close? This has got to be the cardinal sin in business – not asking for the sale!
If only business owners and their team took note of how other companies and other people use some key influencing tools to persuade them to take actions – for example “scarcity", which is used so effectively by many companies such as wine clubs. These companies encourage people to buy by positioning their products or services as scarce resources e. g. We only have 200 cases of this fine wine available. They are use scarcity around both time and resources.
5. Not calculating the “True Acquisition Cost" of customers. By understanding the true acquisition cost of customers and their LTV (life time value), organisations are more likely to spend more time looking after existing customers, rather than just searching for new customers. What is your true acquisition cost of a customer? And what is their average LTV?
6. Failing to implement low cost/no cost marketing strategies. A lot of companies spend thousands of pounds of expensive and INEFFECTIVE advertising, because they don’t measure the true response to their marketing activities. There are some very simply principles you really should adopt when planning your marketing strategies, such as:
+ Keep your marketing simple
+ Tell your existing and prospective customer exactly what benefit they will get from your products / services
+ Use testimonials
+ Ask for and follow up on referrals.
+ Ask existing clients what they want – then deliver what the client wants – not what you think they want!
7. Too much time working “IN" the business and not enough time working “ON" the business. All too often we can get too close to the operations of the business, we forget to evaluate whether we are working as effectively as we possibly could be. It’s essential to take time to stand back, evaluate what is working and more importantly, what is NOT working. We need to spend time planning the next moves for the business as well as reviewing how things are progressing.
A very powerful process is to visit your premises, call your switchboard, fill out your order forms, and do all the things your customers have to do in order to do business with you. Evaluate how simply the process is. Ask yourself the questions – How easy is it for the customer to do business with us?
8. Not having a clear route map for business and personal success. Do you know what you want out of life? Are you personal and business goals in alignment with each other?
It’s surprising how many business owners never really take the time to sit back and evaluate their life – both professionally and personally – to make sure they’re getting out of life what they truly want.
When was the last time you revisited your personal goals? When was the last time your revisited your business goals and reviewed your business plan? Maybe it would be worthwhile revisiting your business and personal goals on at least a monthly basis. It might even be worth adding a section to your business plan, which is “Personal Goals of the Business Owners".
9. Lack of understanding of motivational factors. Do you understand the motivation of your individual team members? If you haven’t already done so maybe you should ask your team members individually “Why do you choose to work for our company?" and “What motivates you to deliver to the best of your abilities?" By understanding what motivates your team, you’re likely to be able to provide them with better support and guidance, and in turn the business is likely to be more successful due to the highly motivated team.
10. Lack of measurement in the business.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got!
The most important principle in business is “Test, Test, Test". The only way to understand what works and what doesn’t is to test, measure, and evaluate. If things work, then keep doing them. If they don’t then re-evaluate, tweak them and test again.
By testing, measuring and then evaluating we can create a well-optimised business that undertakes activities because they work effectively, rather then because that is the way they have always been done!
Wow, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. Now is the time to take action! Perhaps you should revisit each of these 10 Secrets to Successful Business Growth and create a plan of action of how you are going to address each of these areas in more detail. Once you’ve taken time out of your busy schedule to work through these 10 areas, if you feel you could do with some guidance to implement each of these areas effectively in your business then perhaps Pti International might just be able to help you out.
Pti International run a high impact Business Acceleration Programme which enables businesses from all backgrounds to develop greater focus in their business growth activities through the learning and sharing of best practice across a whole host of Industries. If you want to make More Profits, More Easily and More Often then maybe this programme is for you.
Written by Graham Nicoll, Business Development Director of Pti International. Visit http://www.pti-international.com or Graham’s Blog at http://graham-nicoll.blogspot.com