Inside-Out Secrets of Growing Your Business
Ever notice how some small businesses seem to thrive under just about any economic conditions, while others constantly struggle and miss opportunities that come their way? In part, in might be the type of business, the location, or financial backing. But the most successful business owners display some clear patterns and habits.
And on the flip side of that, other business owners make many of the same mistakes that are often avoidable, especially when it comes to growing a business. Part of the problem is short-term thinking – chasing the latest shiny advertising object that happens to pass by, for example. Or spending too much time seeking new customers and not enough taking care of the ones you have.
Solid, long-term growth starts with what I call “inside-out” thinking – doing the things inside your business that you can control, and paying less attention to the outside things you can’t control.
Here are 10 such “inside out” secrets for successful growth.
1. Change how you think about growth
Consider growth a constant – not something you switch on or off depending on conditions. For example, many business owners reduce offerings at the first sign of an economic storm, or overspend when the outlook seems rosy. But a steady-as-she-goes approach makes for long term success.
2. Check your ego; seek out sound advice
You know your business inside and out, but that doesn’t make you an expert at running every part of it. Smart business owners know what they don’t know. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and then take it.
3. Remember your first fans
Many entrepreneurs seem to forget who helped them get started. If you have investors, keep them apprised of what’s going on. Good communication is critical. A good investor group can provide mentoring and other resources, so keep them involved.
4. Share your knowledge
In today’s social media driven world, success and influence are in the hands of those who share ideas and information. 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.
5. Hire help to watch your money
Lack of strong accounting and finance can be the only thing keeping you from reaching your financial goals. Find well qualified people who share your vision and then step back and take their advice.
6. Know when to persevere
Stick to your mission. Many would-be success stories end prematurely because they give up when challenges mount. Don’t let hurdles stop you. Arm yourself with market knowledge and an expert team and push through.
7. 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. You may end up with a clearer picture of what will or won’t work.
8. Keep cash on hand
One of the biggest mistakes growing businesses make is to run out of cash. While the sun is still shining on your business or before your financial picture has a chance to turn sour, meet with lenders and/or landlords proactively to see if there are opportunities to restructure debt, payment terms, etc. Having cash on hand is critical for staying afloat and continuing to grow.
9. Get more when you have more
Don’t wait until cash balances get low to secure more funding. The best time to get more is when you don’t need it. Securing a line of credit while you still have money in the bank gives you the ability to negotiate a larger line and better terms. It also gives you the ability to make payroll during slow times and to have access to cash as needed. In addition, it gives you an opportunity to develop a business relationship with a bank.
10. Sell when you get the chance
Many business owners miss, or worse – pass up – incredible chances to sell their company because they are not prepared to adequately evaluate the opportunity. 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.
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