Growing a successful business is no easy task.
It can be stressful, confusing, lonely, and downright brutal at times.
That said, there are a number of key points that successful businesses and business owners have mastered.
Understanding these can make the difference between a struggling, and a wildly successful business.
Here are some of my thoughts on what it takes to run a successful business:
1. Know your numbers
Your numbers drive your business. They provide a tangible metric which allows you to see exactly how your business is performing, and where it is lacking. Before you can scale and grow, you need to spend time uncovering the hidden value and unrealized profits in your business. You can do this only if you learn to understand your numbers.
2. Cash flow is always required in order to scale
Contrary to what most people believe, scaling requires a lot of capital. Cash flow, not profits, will allow your business to afford growth and scaling. Cash flow buys you all the tech, people, and infrastructure you need for growing.
3. Systems and processes can be the difference between mediocrity and absolute domination
They are the difference between growth or stagnation. You want to systemize as much as possible in your business, from as early as possible. You need to make sure everyone knows what is expected from them the second they join your company. If you want something to get done on a continuous basis, you need to adopt systems, processes, checklists, protocols, and standard operating procedures. They make sure everything that needs to get done is actually getting done - always, not here and there.
4. Speed of implementation is crucial
Have a new strategy you'd like to try out? Better do it quick. Track, measure, and monitor how efficiently you and your team are completing goals. Always look at your dashboard and make sure to identify the people who say they will do something, but never do it, or are missing deadlines. Being a fast executioner is a huge competitive advantage. While your competitors are thinking about doing something, you've already implemented, got feedback, and iterated. That said...
5. Learn to discern the REAL needle movers
There are a couple of key leverage points in every business that FAR outweigh the results you get from any other activity. Deciding on what you should post about on social media this week won't yield the same results as fine-tuning your sales process so you close 50% more deals, or agreeing a profitable joint venture, or making your offer convert on cold traffic for example.
Remember: The important thing is to keep the important thing, the important thing.
6. Use thinking time
You absolutely must get away from your day-to-day business activities to get a critical, 50 000 foot view of your business. Designate a specific time when you will think strategically and work ON your business. Do it on a regular basis. I like to do it once per week at a minimum. We all have blindspots, and sometimes, getting outside help can be beneficial.
7. Focus on customer lifetime value
You constantly need to find ways to improve your customer LTV. Figure out how to make them buy more, buy more often, and how you can bring in new customers. Instead of always focusing on new business, make sure you monetize what you already have - your existing customers and clients. Remember, the biggest cost in almost every business is acquiring a new customer. Then once you have them, maximize their value.
8. Deliver an amazing customer experience
We're all dealing with humans. We like to be treated great and we like to have our expectations exceeded. It's your job to provide a 5-star experience to your customers. The same person can be your biggest fan who sings praise to everyone, and refers business to you constantly... BUT, that person can also be your biggest critic telling everyone to stay away from you. That depends on how you treat them.
Do fewer things, but do them better. There is no point working on 37 different projects and spreading yourself too thin. Remember what we talked about earlier - focus on the tasks and activities that are big needle movers in your business. Focus on the 20% of activities that give you 80% of your desired result. Whatever your problem is, usually the solution is much simpler than you think. A question I like to ask myself often is this - "What would this look like if it were easy?". It just so happens that it is an excellent problem solving question as well.
Hope you found this short list of big ideas helpful.
To your success,