If you think your company is charging ahead at full steam, you might want to take a second look. Often it can seem like you’re maximizing the market opportunity, but there is almost always room for improvement. Companies often chug along at 50 percent of what they’re capable of, undermining long-term success and growth.
In this post, we’re going to look at some of the techniques you can use to unlock your company’s full potential. Some of the advice here is brutally honest, so you’ve been warned.
Deliberately Make Time For Creatively Thinking About Your Business Every Week
If you’re the boss of a business, your job isn’t to provide services to customers or develop products. Instead, it’s to think about how you want to organize the firm and the direction you want it to go. Everyone else just gets on busily with the job of production. But your role is to take things a step further. You need to carve out new paths where opportunities present themselves and try new things. As the CEO, your job is to stop everyone else from driving the company into a rut.
Therefore, many bosses like to set aside critical time every week to think about the direction of their operations. It could be quiet, private contemplation, or a team effort. Where possible, write down your ideas on paper and share them with the people around you. Make sure that they have traction and make sense in the real world. Think carefully about how you might implement them or where you could trial them first.
Ideas will often pop into your head at random times in the week when you least expect it. If that happens, jot down a quick note, and then use your allocated thinking time to consider them more carefully.
Remember, your mind is what started your venture. It’s the key to unlocking your organization’s potential. Think carefully about the next steps you could take to get closer to your goals.
Update Your Message
A lot of companies stick with the same message year after year. Branding, they say, is all about consistency. Unfortunately for them, though, the world isn’t static. It changes dramatically over time and companies with it. In the early days, Google was a libertarian organization, keen to share information freely throughout the world. Now it’s become something very different indeed.
Firms need to move with the times. A message that appealed ten years ago might not today. It’s a matter of optimizing, changing, and updating to suit your audience. Remain alert to the trends in the community. Keep your eyes peeled for alterations in opinions or shifts in values. That could make all the difference to your brand in a world where companies are increasingly falling along partisan political lines.
Use Analytical Tools And Track Them Obsessively
The array of analytical tools on offer for today’s companies is genuinely spectacular. Furthermore, vendors have done an excellent job of making them easy to use. These days, you don’t need a Ph.D. in statistics or computer science to produce helpful reports. Anyone can do it from easy-to-use dashboards.
Analytical tools are way more critical for business growth than most entrepreneurs realize. You now have the rise of data-driven organizations that make strategic decisions based on what their information flows are saying. They don’t even bother consulting their intuition anymore. And they tend to do better than firms that do!
Data, at the very least, should help you optimize and streamline your operations. It also allows you to tinker with your processes more quickly. You can obsess over the figures for hours, trying to figure out ways to make your operations more efficient. It can actually be a lot of fun, and it shows you how you can cut costs and get the most out of your resources.
Nail Your Marketing
Saying that marketing will help your business grow isn’t even remotely original. Still, you’d be surprised how many bosses forget this simple fact. They see the price of using ad agencies and assume that it’s just money down the drain. But a well-executed campaign will often return 500 percent or more in sales and profit – a considerable difference.
Nailing your marketing should be at the top of your list of priorities. Effective marketing involves tapping into your audience’s culture and convincing them that you’re the most aligned with their values, not your competitors. Effective marketing involved getting underneath people’s skin. It’s not about asking them to buy your products. It’s about getting them to assume you’re the only game in town. There’s a big difference.
Leverage Your Finances To Take Advantage Of Growth Opportunities
Many companies have massive potential, but they don’t take the big financial steps they need to take to get outsized results. Bootstrapping your way to the top might sound like a good idea. But it only makes sense if opportunities grow in lockstep with your revenue. They might not.
Taking advantage of growth opportunities often involves borrowing money you know you can pay back in the future. Firms like Assured Accounting Solutions suggest that companies plan their incomes and expenditures based on the likely project outcomes.
Leveraging is one of the most powerful things that you can do in business. You’re essentially using resources today to accumulate more in the future. It is particularly important when the situation is time-sensitive. Sometimes, you can’t afford to wait five years to take advantage of an opportunity. You need to act right now.
If you decide you need cash (which will inevitably happen at some point in the lifecycle of your company), you’ll need a pitch. Show investors why they should plow their cash into your operation and not somebody else’s. Show them the results you expect to result from their investment, and give them a sense of the returns.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Take a look at any of the most successful companies in the world, and you’ll notice something: they’re all run by people with mentors. Mark Zuckerberg famously has somebody he goes to when he wants to discuss business-related matters. So too does Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
The reason for this is simple: it pays dividends to get the insight of someone who has done it all before, instead of feeling your way there yourself. By including talented people in your inner circle, you automatically put yourself at an advantage over your competitors. They might want to go it alone, but eventually, they will make a mistake. At that point, you can sweep in and take market share.
Maintain Records Of Your Cash Flow
Even if you’re just starting your business, you should keep records of your expenses and cash flow – you’ll need them when you come to file your accounts. Track everything correctly, or get an accountant to do it for you from the start. Failing to organize is a recipe for stress.
Always Look For The Next Growth Channel
Being an entrepreneur is a tough gig. Clocking in at nine in the morning and finishing at five seems like a short day. Usually, you’re in the office, plugging away from dawn until dusk, and often much longer. For the first five years, regular 18-hour days are the norm.
Eventually, though, the routine starts to wear you down. You wonder whether there’s more to life than solving one problem after another. And you fear that you’ll never arrive at the place you wanted to go when you set up your business. The reward is perpetually out of reach.
If you find yourself getting into that mindset, you need to look for the next growth channel. If the business isn’t taking off how you imagined, look for the next opportunity. No matter how mundane your operations, there’s infinite complexity in there. You can take something straightforward and drill down into the details, making it the best it can possibly be. It could be improving customer service, making changes to your products, or switching up your marketing. Whatever it is, get with the program. Don’t settle for boredom or burnout. That’s not why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. It shouldn’t be all work.
Take On Employees As Soon As You Can
Starting up a company is scary for a variety of reasons. But one of the most challenging aspects is the fact that you become responsible for the livelihood of other people. Some solopreneurs think that they can take on the world by themselves and don’t need to worry about hiring people, but that’s not the case. The more people you bring on board, the more your business can thrive. It’s a risk not to take on new staff.
Take on the people you need as early as possible. If your business is viable, you’ll soon find out. They’ll either pay for themselves or they won’t. If your business fails, then you can start looking for new opportunities. Remember failing fast is better than failing slow, dragging out the whole process.