Everyone has heard the oft-repeated quote that 95% of all businesses fail within the first 5 years. That means 5% of the businesses don’t die. Well just because they don’t die it doesn’t mean that they are in any happy situation. These businesses that don’t die just about manage to survive. The business owner survives month to month. His revenue remains more or less in a small range for years. His profits are slim. His cash flow is a constant battle to meet his daily, weekly and monthly requirements. His only hope then is to learn how to grow the business.
The only way a business can get out of survival (nor die) mode is by growth. Because when a business grows it unleashes a whole new avenue of opportunities for the business. When it grows it can invest in better resources, technology, systems, professionals, processes, all leading to even further growth. So here are the simple steps which any business owner needs to undertake to grow his business.
8 steps to grow business
- Lead Generation: Most of businesses struggle because they don’t have a reliable, consistent, and effective lead generation campaign. The business which has a higher flow of leads will end up with a higher number of customers. A higher number of customers will bring in more revenue. More revenue will lead to growth. So be it a b2b business or a b2c business, creating, launching and executing a lead generation campaign which runs day after day, month after month bringing in a steady flow of leads is absolutely paramount for a business to grow. You can learn more about the important components of a lead generation campaign here. In case your business is b2b here are some extremely important b2b lead generation strategies
- Lead conversion: A number of factors lead to efficient lead conversion, which is a sales function. Investing in good sales executives with better sales capabilities, efficient sales processes which include using good CRM systems and follow up processes, product pricing and right offer – they all come together to make for higher lead conversion. This is the only step in the whole business where the money comes into the business and therefore it is absolutely critical that there is an extreme focus on this area for any business that wants to grow.
- Strategy: The business has to constantly look at its various components and work on a strategic roadmap to grow its business. One of the best ways to come up with the right ideas to grow the business is to work through this simple 2 X 2 matrix: Existing customers – Existing products. New customers – Existing product.Existing customers – New product.New customers – New product. Using this simple strategic model, the business can come up with many new ideas to grow vertically and horizontally
- Process: Companies suffer and fail to grow because their processes are broken. The business is like a collection of various processes and systems. Lead generation system, lead conversion system, production system, delivery system, after-sales service system, customer satisfaction system, recruitment system, purchase system, accounting, and finance system, and many others. Looking at how every system is currently functioning, where are the inefficiencies and bottlenecks, which manual systems can be automated, which can be outsourced – by correcting and streamlining these leads to efficiency, smoother operations leading to business growth
- People: It is a chicken and egg situation A growing business attracts competent professionals. And skilled professionals are needed for the business to grow. Since competence comes to a higher price/salary a lot of businesses avoid hiring such highly skilled people because they find it difficult to afford them. Bur due to this they don’t have the right people running the right portions of the business efficiently and the business growth suffers.
- Online: Online presence has become an extremely important requirement for businesses to expand in today’s business environment. From businesses whose entire business is online – for example, a SaaS product to businesses that have a combination of an offline and online presence. It is pertinent that every business looks at ways to enhance its online presence and learn how to grow business online because that is where its customers are. This involves highly relevant websites, online shopping capabilities, learning how to use social media to grow the business — all very important requirements for any business to grow.
- Training and development: The business environment is constantly changing. There are new products, new competitors, new technologies, new discoveries, and new knowledge which is constantly coming out in the market. The business owner needs to constantly grow and develop himself to be able to lead the company to high growth. The growth of the business is only limited by the vision and capabilities of its leader. Developing better managerial and leadership capabilities, broadening the industry knowledge, hiring the right coaches to coach and train the business owner so that he has a growth mindset, learning how to empower his team as well as invest in various ways to make the business grow.
- Cash flow management: Cash is king. Cash is the lifeline of any business. Not keeping a very close eye on the cash flow of the business has been the nemesis of many a business. Unless the customer pays and the money is in the bank, all the profits and revenue are only on paper. The business needs a healthy cash flow not only to manage the day to expenses but also needs to have reserves to take care of unusual situations and downturns in businesses that are inevitable even in the best of situations. If the cash flow is not monitored properly, invoices raised and collected quickly, the businesses lose the ability to invest in all the requirements which help in business growth
How to grow a business is not easy. If it was, then everyone would have been able to do it and there would not have been such high failures. The techniques and pointers given above if followed diligently will help any business grow exponentially.