There’s no doubt about it. These are crazy times. In fact, at times it may seem unreal. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create real success and real business growth. I’ve been working with many of my clients to create solid foundations and focused business strategies that allow them to safely and sanely grow even during these tough economic times. Planning and positioning for growth is about taking the long term view, and then aligning your short term actions with your end game vision. Here are seven of the strategies I’ve been coaching my clients around to shift toward more growth when what used to work just isn’t working anymore.
Invest in YOU.
There is no better investment than you. You and your portfolio of skills and talents are worth more than any stock or property. Now is the perfect time to strategically grow you. Where can you strengthen? Where can you diversify? Where will an investment now payoff in spades later?
Invest in existing clients and fans
The easiest way to grow your business and impact is to take your clients and fans to the next level. Instead of putting all of your energy and money into attracting new clients consider reengaging your fan base. What can you offer current or former customers that will extend or deepen the work you’ve already done with them? What add-on service or value can you provide them? How can you make them feel like they are highly valued members of your business?
Expand what’s working
If you’re getting great results somewhere, how can you take that to the next level? If you’re private work is doing pretty well, how can you create a program that allows multiple people to go through it with you? If your training programs are doing well, how can you partner with someone to bring it to more people? Look at where there is strength in your business and find creative ways to magnify it.
Cut back the overgrowth
Part of your growth strategy may be to cut back the overgrowth in your business. What is muddling your message or mission? What is underperforming that, if cut, could free up resources for growth? This is the time for taking decisive action. Take an honest inventory of what is working, what is holding its own and what isn’t working. Then make some solid, strategic decisions about where to focus your time and resources.
Test before you invest
Now is not the time for big risky launches. Try testing your ideas first. Get the idea to take root before you put big bucks into it. Let your clients lead you to a finished product. Don’t assume you have all the answers. Instead engage a group of your clients to be your “Research and Development” group. Give them VIP treatment and learn from their questions, insights and ideas.
What do you bring to the table that very few others can duplicate? How can you inject more uniqueness into your business? “Go Signature” is about finding and sharing your unique approach, style, philosophy or solution. When you have a signature approach, you reduce competition. Instead of being like everyone else, be willing to go against the grain if it feels more authentically you. Signature isn’t about putting on an act. It’s about dropping it. Be you…in what you deliver, in how you deliver it. Create a signature experience for your clients and prospects, so that even if they try the competition they’ll come back to you because what you deliver is simply better, even if they can’t explain why!
Run the numbers
In good times you may be able to get away with avoiding the bottom line numbers. But let’s be honest…these don’t exactly qualify as ‘good times’ for most. Now more than ever you must look at the bottom line financials in your business. What are your fixed costs? What are your variable expenses? What percent of revenue are you spending to just maintain the business? Unless and until you understand the money side of your business, you’re going to struggle with knowing when and how to grow. Growth doesn’t just come from ‘toe tingling’ good ideas. It comes from making solid business decisions too.
You can position yourself for growth now and into the future by making a few simple and smart moves.
I’d love to hear from you. What strategies are working for you to get real growth in unreal times?