As a business owner I grew my current business to $1m in the first three years, $10m in seven years and we’ve just hit our tenth year and should be hitting $20m turnover this financial year.
None of this has come by accident, by living a ‘laptop lifestyle’ or by prioritising golf over relentless pursuit of growth for the company.
Here are my top ten tips that you can implement today to ramp up growth:
1 Do the sales calls
In the first four days of starting my business I had been getting no response to my hundreds of cold calls. I thought Fire and Safety Australia was dead before it had even started.
However, I had a real belief in the training services that I was offering, so I gathered my courage, kept going and going, and I made a decision to “never quit” until I achieved my vision of success.
If it takes you ten sales calls to get one proposal through, then its not hard to do the maths and work out how many calls you need to do to get to proposal stage and how many proposals you need to submit to get the required number of sales.
If you’re serious about growth this has to be a cornerstone in your strategy.
2 Relentless discipline
I often ask entrepreneurs to rate their level of personal discipline from zero to ten. Most people respond between a three and a six.
To them, I say, imagine how much more profit you would make if you were a seven, an eight, or a nine out of ten in discipline?
Imagine how efficiently and profitably your business would run if you were disciplined enough to concentrate your focus and efforts on the most important tasks required to build the business, not the trivial crap that bogs you down.
3 Be a visionary
Maybe you already have a vision of your business, or at least a viewpoint on what success looks like from your venture.
One of the biggest lessons I learned during my toughest year in business was that you must have a strong vision that you care deeply and passionately about to get you through the tough times. A strong and compelling vision was the only thing that kept me going during this time when I seriously considered quitting. I knew why I was in business, why it was important to me, and why I wanted to be there.
4 Get a mentor
I’ve always engaged mentors, consultants, and business coaches, and I’ve paid premium prices to obtain all the information that I possibly could from them. I implemented everything I learned with relentless discipline and dramatically improved my business.
I have always viewed my education in school and in business as an investment in myself and an investment in my business. I was happy and am still happy to pay tens of thousands of dollars to someone who can add real value to my business and show me something that I previously
have not seen, as I have an insatiable desire for learning and growth.
5 Keep a weekly dashboard
A weekly Key Performance Indicator dashboard is the way in which you will drive the relentless discipline and relentless focus of the entire business to execute your annual strategic plan goals
and continue to move the business forward towards your compelling vision each week.
The weekly dashboard is the best insurance that your business can ever implement to ensure that you execute on your plan. A plan without execution is nothing, worthless.
The weekly KPI dashboard will ensure that your creativity, your innovation, and your desire to hit your compelling vision and your annual strategy will succeed.
6 Hire the right people
In the early days, I used to hire people because they had a pulse and a résumé that looked okay. I never looked at prospective employees’ cultural fit or did any job-based aptitude testing. I went and hired all these people and turned almost all of them over in the next couple of years, after I found out the hard way about how to hire effectively.
7 Fire the right people
Some business owners will never have the courage to make tough decisions like firing the wrong employees, or making several employees redundant, because they’re worried what others will think, or what others will say, or they hate the idea of having to remove someone. I believe that most businesses do not achieve success, not because they fail to hire the right people, but because they fail to fire the wrong people.
I don’t like firing people either, but if you don’t have the courage to make the right decision
for the long-term health and sustainability of the business, then things will get worse and worse until there’s nothing left of the business and your employees are all out of work.
8 Work hard
There is no magic formula for scaling a business. There is no substitute for hard, focused work to achieve business success. If you are not falling asleep while working at your computer at two in the morning a few times per week, you are probably not working hard enough, and you may be leaving business on the table; you could likely achieve more.
I believe no great business can be built in a few hours per week.
9 Focus on profit not sale
People talk about sales and sales growth, but that is so much less important than bottom-line results. Too many people think about profit last, but it should be the first thing you think about when forecasting the business financials.
Profit is what can be used to take out dividends; it generally is the most important component of how a company is valued, and it is the only way to grow without external equity or debt.
You should spend as much time looking at your financials each month as you do your sales. The business leader must have courage to make the hard decisions, the courage to execute with relentless discipline, and the courage for profit.
Courage is required when leaders hit a brick wall of cash flow problems, customer complaints, legal issues, and employee challenges to smash through the setbacks to achieve their own definition of success.
Courage will enable the leader to keep pushing forward even when everything feels like it is falling down around them.
Courage is the key to successful growth for every business, and though courage is a word not often mentioned in business circles, it is a word that must be introduced.
Courage is rarely spoken about, yet in my opinion it is the most important, core attribute of a leader to take their business from where they are now and grow it to the next level and achieve their own dreams of success.