Why can’t you double your business in a year, maybe two? Even if the economy is down or your industry is down, can you be expected to grow? And is it realistic to think we can have year after year positive growth?
My answer to all of these questions is “yes you can”!
We are all small business owners with only a sliver of the market. We have so many places to go for growth. I think sometimes we think of it all in one big bucket…revenue growth. But maybe there is more opportunity than we think.
Break it Down
The first step is to break it down. There are obviously different factors for different types of businesses, but here are several ways a person can grow their business:
Increase volume/traffic of customer.
Increase average ticket to each customer.
Add-on new services or products.
Grow geographically into new territories.
I used to work for a regional coffee company that mostly sold to grocery stores when I started working for them. Over the next decade, the company expanded their coffee business and their foodservice business substantially. We also moved into new states that were next to Louisiana and we started selling coffee online. Half way through my twelve-year stint, we started opening up coffee houses. So, we added a completely different form of distributing our product.
Math is math.
If you have a store or a restaurant, you can grow 20% by adding 20% more customers. Or you can increase pricing across the board by 20%. Or you can sell 20% more products to the same number of customers, thereby increasing average ticket. Even less daunting is to achieve the 20% growth by doing a combination of the three.
That may look like only increasing the number of customers by 8% and doing a small price increase and then selling 5% more to everyone. The options are numerous, but in every scenario it seems more reachable when we break it down into multiple strategies or tactics.
Often small businesses come up with plans to grow and then are behind before they know it. After all the industry is down. In my experience reviewing business goals with 20-30 teams a year, I have yet to hear someone say that they had a.) a great well thought out plan, and b.) executed it excellently.
Many may say, “everyone I know is down this quarter”, or “the economy tanked”. Yet in the same discussion they cannot truthfully say that they planned and executed to the best of their ability.
And almost 100% of the time when a company hits super aggressive goals, we can point to the plans and the execution and see how well they performed.
You just have to be honest with yourself. If you don’t have a plan, more than likely you will have poor or average results. If you don’t execute consistently and excellently, you will usually have poor or average results.
Follow-up and follow-through
I know that innovation and talent can make a significant impact on home run performance. But for our small businesses, if we just break it down, plan, execute really well, and then follow-up and follow-through on ensuring consistency, analyzing results, and fine-tuning our plans, we can have aggressive growth in our industry just by doing what we do really well.
We have to stay focused though.
Our company has what I think is a pretty aggressive goal this year. We are well ahead of last year, but still slightly behind our really aggressive goal.
Again, math is math. If we want to hit our really aggressive goal we will need to do better than our previously planned monthly goals to catch up our shortfall.
As the owner of the company, it is your job to motivate the team and show them that the goal can still happen. I am working on just that. Here are my steps:
- I charted where we are on a 12-month rolling trend so the team can see that the months are increasing and that our average monthly revenue is significantly higher than last year.
- I showed them if we just continue to do the average of what we have been doing this year, we will still have our best year ever and beat last year handily.
- I showed them that our current months are already so much higher than just the previous 6 months that it IS possible to have another jump the last 6 months of the year.
- Then we broke it into a plan. We chose the services we offer that could be incremental to our regular monthly business. To eliminate the shortfall, we only need to add three websites to our regular business over the next 5 months or 5 annual planning retreats. It doesn’t seem that scary.
- But, we also need to keep doing the quality work so we don’t lose any clients. To ensure this we are implementing a new analytical review report for all key clients to show them the results of our work for them. This may lead to changes we need to make to enhance their results or it could lead to suggestions that would also be incremental services we can add.
High Quality and Value
All of this, of course, hinges on doing high quality work or selling high quality products that your customers need.
Value is achieved when there is both high quality that meets a need. People don’t find value in something that they don’t need, regardless of how great it is. They also don’t receive value in shoddy work, even if they needed it. To provide value to your clients you have to provide both.
To that end, we try to not sell services our clients don’t need. By measuring and analyzing our work before the client even does, we can be consistently working on enhancing quality.
To Achieve Aggressive Goals You Need All of These Steps
This is pretty basic information. Yet do you know how few companies actually follow these steps until their goal is achieved? How many times have you given up because you felt the goal was too far away? Or worked really hard to get the business but then didn’t service it well?
Again, the combinations of all of these steps with even one missing, usually doesn’t result in aggressive growth. And definitely doesn’t result in sustained growth.
I kick myself when I don’t follow-through. And the numbers don’t lie. When I look at a timeline of revenue over the past 10 years, I can easily mark the slowdowns with something that distracted me during that time period. And never ever was it a bad economy, a natural disaster, or something totally outside of my control. It was always something going on with me that caused me to not believe in the moment, to not plan, to not execute, to not follow through or to not add value.
I believe that if you do your version of these steps, even with only 5 months left in the year, you can have amazing results for your efforts.
Let us know what your goals are, and if we can help.