A lot of small businesses never become anything bigger because they stagnate in a startup mindset. Much of blame for this falls on the entrepreneurs who launch businesses. They hang on to the methods that let the startup survive, even if the cash flow and customer base justify a change. Don’t let the startup mindset hamstring your long-term thinking. Here are some steps you can take to transition into growth mode.
You Must Delegate
One key to startup survival is that people work in multiple roles. Founds takes business meetings, sure, but they probably box up products and go on coffee runs, as well. Growth requires business owners to delegate tasks to people with the right skills. This is all about using time well.
Almost anyone can learn to pack a box properly. Only the business owner can make key strategic decisions or meet with potential business partners. If you’re not making those decisions or taking those meetings because you’re busy boxing products, you’re holding your own business back.
Set Specific Objectives and Timelines
There’s a decent chance you’ve got a business plan floating around with some 3-5 year goals attached. There is also a good chance you haven’t made substantial progress toward those goals. Part of the problem with goals, much like New Year’s resolutions, is that they’re often nebulous. For example, say you set a 5-year goal of making a million dollars in a year. There are a lot of steps to make that happen.
The trick is to lay out specific, short-term objectives and the steps for accomplishing them. For this year, you might set a goal of making $200,000. You take your average profit per customer and figure out how many more customers you need. Once you know that, you can build the right kind of marketing campaign to attract them.
Focus on the Crucial
Does your business success hinge on what kind of pens you stock for office use? How about which shade of white your business cards get printed on? Of course, your success doesn’t hinge on that minutia. Yet, if you let it, this kind of trivia will consume your every waking moment.
This is more of a problem than you might expect. The more decisions you make, the more tired your brain gets. It’s called decision fatigue. The pitfall is your ability to make good decisions deteriorates. By staying focused on crucial decisions, you actually make better decisions.
Become Your Own Biggest Fan
Here’s a hard pill to swallow for a lot of business owners. You must market your business. That doesn’t mean you must become one of those marketers who makes obviously ridiculous claims. What it does mean is that you must sound like you believe in what you’re doing.
Think about when you go to the doctor and she says that you just need antibiotics. Do you want her to sound confident or like she doesn’t trust her own diagnosis? You want her to sound confident. By the same token, other people want to work with confident sounding business owners.
Get Cozy with Technology
Just because you’re not a computer god, it doesn’t let you off the hook for using technology to support your business. After all, there are dozens of applications that can save you time and effort. A CRM program can help you better serve your customers and improve their lifetime value.
Technology can also help you centralize marketing efforts and deploy email marketing strategies. Really good applications can even automate a lot of the processes. Ignoring tech is a good way to harm your business growth.
Transitioning into growth mode is a struggle for many entrepreneurs. It forces you to give up total control. You must delegate work and focus on crucial decisions. You must embrace marketing like you mean it. You need short-term objectives and action steps to meet them. You need to leverage technology to advantage. Taking these steps, while sometimes difficult, will pave the way for long-term business growth.