“Strengthening your foundation pillars of value for customers, engaging your employees, increasing your capacity, and contributing to your community will accelerate your growth and success.” — Phil Symchych
Welcome to this newest version of my business growth tips where I will share strategies, tactics, ideas, successes, and some failures, to help you grow your business.
Grow your business by focusing on the four foundational pillars of any organization:
- Strategy – providing value to your customers.
- People – engage your employees to help your customers.
- Business valuation – continually enhance the capacity and valuation of your company.
- Community – make a positive contribution to your community, industry, and economy.
If you’re too busy to read the rest of this article and would rather schedule a call with me to discuss ideas on how to grow your business and increase your business wealth by 20% or more in 2022, click here to set up a call.
The full story:
When I was a teenager, many years ago, my parents and aunt and uncle bought a business, which they renamed Clear Lake Lodge. There was no internet. Interest rates were 23% per year.
The business only operated at full capacity for two months of the years, unless it rained, and people went home early.
Our families mortgaged everything and bought a business that their accountant told them not to buy, because “it didn’t make any money.”
As a teenager, I was in charge of cutting the grass, washing windows, painting, and keeping quiet to not disturb the guests. The last part, as a huge AC-DC and Van Halen fan, was difficult.
It turns out their accountant was right. The business didn’t make any money for a few years.
Lack of money and constant financial pressure caused a lot of stress for everyone, derailed some education and life plans, and forced me to grow up.
As one guru says, “things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.”
It turns out my parents and aunt and uncle didn’t want a business that made money.
They wanted a business that hopefully broke even after paying the bank, and that provided a place for them to spend their summers working together, slowly building equity (which they did). The “Lodge,” as we called it, gave them a place to work together and something to do in their upcoming retirements.
That extremely financially stressful experience is what led me to go into the accounting profession to help business owners make better decisions. After five years of the accounting business, I shifted my career to become a management consultant. To date, my formal education and credentials have taken me 12 years to acquire. But credentials don’t mean results, so I combine the books smarts with the street smarts and experience to help others in business.
Now, and for the last 25 years, I focus on helping businesses and organizations grow, increase profit, create happy customers, and build wealth for business owners. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to work with hundreds of companies and owners across 62 industry segments and in seven different countries. This exposure—to successes and failures—helps me to help others, and I want to share some of those ideas with you today.
We all learn from our mistakes. Although trial and error is a highly effective teacher, it is very inefficient, time consuming, and expensive. The key is to avoid or minimize mistakes and adjust quickly when the occur.
The following 22 strategies and tactics will help you grow your business. Hopefully, you will avoid some mistakes we made or that I’ve seen others make and accelerate your success. These growth strategies have worked for my clients, regardless of whether the economy is good or bad.
The growth strategies are based on four foundational pillars of any business:
- Strategy: providing value to your customers
- People: engaging your employees
- Valuation: strengthening your overall business capacity, resilience, balance sheet, and value, and
- Community: creating a sustainable business that contributes to your community.
Figure 1: Four pillars of strategic growth
Here are STRATEGY tips to grow your business:
- Act like a consultant and figure out how your customers use your products and services to improve their businesses or lives.
- Constantly improve your products and services, even if that means abandoning some cash cows.
- Quantify the value of your products and services. This can be objective, in terms of your customer’s financial or operational performance. This can (and always is) subjective, such as how you decrease your customer’s pain, frustration, or stress and increase their happiness.
- Stop trying to be all things to all people or chasing short term cash flow, which are signs of smallbusinessitis.
- Think and act like a bigger company (with plans, budgets, documented systems, and regular management meetings), so you can become one more quickly.
- Measure and review your strategy at least quarterly, make adjustments, and update your strategy continually. Gone are the days of five-year strategic plans.
Next, let’s talk about how you can engage your PEOPLE, both employees and customers, to grow your business.
- Clearly communicate the purpose of your business and how you help your customers. This will help everyone to understand how they contribute to make your customers better.
- Ask your front-line people what can be done to make their jobs easier, or better, so they can take care of your customers.
- Empower your people to spend money to solve—and prevent— problems. Start with a $100 limit. This can be difficult for overly controlling owners suffering from smallbusinessitis.
- Focus your people on the results you are trying to achieve for your customers (this will drive innovation) and for your business (this will drive growth).
- Measure key results and share these with your team. Everyone wants to know the score. If you don’t share key metrics, employees will make up their own (and they’ll be wrong). Information allows you to hold your employees accountable. Without information, it’s not possible for accountability.
- Trust your people with resources, information, and decision making. This will switch on their brains and their hearts. This will give the owner freedom from the day to day so they can focus on growth.
Your business needs to be strong and healthy to continue to provide value to your customers. Here are tips to strengthen your business VALUATION by enhancing the areas of branding, marketing, operations, capacity, and especially management. All of these will drive positive increases in valuation.
- Professionalize your management team by sharing company wide information, having them set goals and budgets, giving them power to hire/fire/spend money, and holding them accountable for performance.
- Focus your messaging on the value and results you provide to your customers, not on your methodology, number of locations, or hours.
- Use a daily (or weekly) FLASH report that shows daily sales, production, and cash flow. Share this information with your managers. Ideally this information would be generated from your enterprise resource planning or accounting system but start with sticky notes if needed.
- Hold a weekly FLASH meeting where your managers get together and discuss how they can help each other to improve results. This destroys silos and gets them working as a team.
- Prepare quarterly reports that compare results to goals and budgets. Explain what worked and what didn’t. This will enhance learning and accelerate results.
- Develop and implement a succession plan so that you have successors and back-up people for key positions.
Finally, let’s discuss how your business can make a more positive impact on your COMMUNITY.
- Be aware of your environmental impact. Go green. Reduce paper, reduce fuel consumption, recycle ruthlessly, add solar energy.
- Expose young people to the benefits of entrepreneurship.
- Share your business knowledge and lessons learned with others in your industry and in your community.
- Use your business platform to support causes you believe in, from animal welfare to mental health.
Every entrepreneur I’ve ever met and worked with have growth hard wired into their DNA. Just like a tree wants to grow, so does an entrepreneur want to grow their business. A tree needs roots, and you need a solid foundation of strategy, people, valuation, and community to grow your business.
Which of these strategies will you implement to help you to grow your business, increase value to your customers, engage your people, enhance the valuation of your company, and create a positive impact in your community?
At Clear Lake Lodge, our families pitched in to make things work. I learned customer service from Mom, open book management from Uncle Peter, the value of music to create happy guests from Aunt Norma, and the importance of getting up early to get things done from Dad.
When they all decided to retire, none of us kids wanted to buy the business. It was more of a lifestyle than a business. But the business and life lessons I learned were priceless.
Full speed ahead!
Let’s talk about you! What are your main growth goals or challenges you see for 2022? Let me know by replying to this email and I’ll consider them for future articles.
Help me help others! Feel free to forward and share this email with any business leader or owner you know, or post this link to my blog on social media.
Want to build your business wealth? If you’d like to discuss ideas on how you can grow your business and increase your business wealth by 20% or more in one year or less, please give me a call and we’ll have a complimentary consultation. You can use this calendar link to find a time that works for you.
Thanks for reading!!