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77 Ways To Grow Your Business.....Whatever The Market Conditions
The tips below are taken from extensive research conducted jointly by The Wow Company and Business Link into what the really successful companies are doing right now. We hope they help your business to rise to the challenge.
1. What is your strategy to grow in the next 12 months?
2. Write down your top 3 objectives for the next 6 months (make sure they are measurable).
3. Produce a short-term plan for the next 6 months that shows how you are going to make money.
4. Create an amazing place to work - Read ‘Fish!’ by Lundin, Paul & Christensen.
5. Communicate with them – setup a meeting structure.
6. Let them know how they can contribute to the business’s success.
7. Use appraisals and written progression plans.
8. Provide leadership – they are looking to you for it!
9. Look at flexible working to manage your staff costs, whilst maintaining productivity.
10. Setup a training programme for your whole team. Invest for the future - it'll be worth it.
11. Calculate your break-even point
12. Produce a visual dashboard for your business
13. Make sure you know what profit you make on a monthly basis
14. Set budgets for all areas of your business.
15. Review expenditure vs. budget each month.
16. Review relationships with your key suppliers – are you getting value?
17. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your landlord.
18. Consider telephone or web meetings instead of face-to-face meetings.
19. Use outsourced services instead of recruiting overhead, e.g. Virtual PA’s, Bookkeepers.
20. Have a written credit control procedure.... and stick to it!
21. Take action with bad debts – see if you can agree a payment plan.
22. Ask for deposits before you start work.
23. Don’t complete the work/deliver the goods until you've been paid (keep something back as leverage).
24. Reduce the payment terms on your invoices to ‘7 days’ or ‘by return’
25. Negotiate extended payment terms where you can (including with HMRC).
26. Build a relationship with your bank manager – help them understand your business so that if you need funding, they are more likely to give it to you.
27. Pre-chase key invoices and build relationships with the purchase ledger departments.
29. Consider credit insurance also.
30. Be clear on your USP – if you are not, go back and ask your customers why they buy from you.
31. Also ask them what they want to buy from you in the future.
32. And whilst you’re there, find out how you can improve your offering.
33. Make sure you communicate your VALUE to your customers.
34. Offer packages that make it easy for people to buy from you (again and again).
35. Focus on your most profitable products/services – get rid of the unprofitable ones.
36. Can you tweak your offering to target those businesses that are doing well in the current economic conditions?
37. Are there opportunities for you to export or seek different routes to market?
38. Diversify your client base and spread the risk (especially if you are over-reliant on a particular client or market).
39. Become a specialist. Go through your customers and work out where you already have areas of specialism.
40. Get case studies and testimonials from your current clients that fall into these areas of specialism.
41. Identify the top 5 characteristics of your Ideal Client.
42. Check that ALL your marketing is targeting your Ideal Client – what do you need to change?
43. Produce a list of your Dream Clients (the top 10 companies you would love to work with) and start asking people if they know anyone who works there.
44. Don’t just discount! Make sure you negotiate properly and always get something in return.
45. Create different price points for your offering (that are profitable for you at each level).
46. Offer incentives for people to make bulk purchases.
47. Speak to other business owners about what is working for them.
48. Allocate time to do marketing each week – otherwise it won’t happen!
49. Create a marketing calendar of activity for the next 6 weeks.
50. Set simple targets for what you want to achieve each week, e.g. number of phone calls, letters, meetings, enquiries, quotes, footfall, etc.
51. Look at low-cost (or free) ways to spread the word.
52. Keep statistics of where your opportunities are coming from.
53. Get social! Find out how you can get tangible results from twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube and the rest...
54. Go back to your existing customers and ask them for referrals (be specific if you can)!
55. Create a system for doing this regularly.
56. Organise a client event, e.g. invite your top 6 clients for coffee and get feedback from them.
57. Grade your customers and make sure you spend more time with the best ones!
58. Stay in contact with them regularly and give them incentives to buy from you again.
59. Use the Wow Cross Selling Matrix to identify untapped opportunities within your client base. Request your copy by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
60. Print out a list of your existing customers and go down it with a marker pen looking for cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
61. Go back through your diary for the last 2 years. Which sales prospects could you phone up today to see if they are ready to buy again?
62. Produce a list of everyone that has bought from you ever – who is worth a phone call, or a letter, or e-mail?
63. Read ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’, by Spencer Johnson.
64. Listen to what the market is telling you and react to it.
65. Keep an eye out for competitors who are failing or have gone bust – you could pick up their key contracts, customers and even staff.
66. Who could you share office space with to reduce your overheads (and help them out too)?
67. Make contact with 5 people you could collaborate with to share clients or enhance each other’s offering.
68. Share ideas, best practice, information with your peers.
69. Do business within your network.
70. Do someone a favour – you will be amazed at what you get back in return!
71. Get expert advice – don’t DIY when it comes to HR, marketing, accountancy, legal matters.
72. Find a mentor, sounding board, business adviser.
73. Get an independent review of your business.
74. Read ‘Eat That Frog’ by Brian Tracy.
75. Produce a list of important things to do each day.
76. Prioritise & focus on one thing at a time.
77. Get on and do it!