Whatever industry or sector you are operating in – and irrespective of whether you are selling widgets or wills – keeping the sales pipeline flowing is a perennial challenge in today’s tough climate where more is expected for less.
As a business strategist and performance coach who has added £110 million to the bottom line of a select number of owner managed and family run businesses in Yorkshire over the last decade – enabling them to lead a life worth living, I’m a great believer of keeping things simple.
In my experience many bosses overcomplicate business and lose their way by being ‘activity junkies’ who let their ‘busyness’ kill their entrepreneurial spirit as opposed to having a go-forward plan to keep the business on track.
A great believer in ‘the power of three’, follow this effective formula:
1. Stay focused at all times on:
- Where you and your business need to go. It may be that you need to toughen up your business culture to boost your bottom line. You may also need to innovate to stay ahead of the competition and take action at a time when others are fearful.
- Doing what only you can do. As the leader it’s critical that you know the areas where you add value – whether this be finding out what your customers value about doing business with you, securing more contracts by solving their problems – or pre-empting what they will demand from you as we emerge as a snail’s pace into the recovery.
- Maximising your productivity the first hour of each day. This is where your creativity and energy levels are at their peak so avoid at all costs getting immersed in emails and social, media which are distracting and will take your eye off the bigger picture. Being organised is critical to success and you may want to think about having ‘In’ days and ‘Out’ days to boost your effectiveness.
2. Learn something new – whether a:
- New technology – a product or service. Look beyond your home turf and go and maximise the opportunities that this climate has created. Visit shows and exhibitions where none of your competitors will be and be receptive to new developments.
- Concept or idea. The tough times are a killer for creativity and the ‘survival instinct’ is hampering many leaders from keeping their minds open. After all a new idea could shake up your market and put you in the driving seat.
- Knowledge or skill. This does not have to be connected with the core business – it can be something like storytelling (it may sound incongruous but many owners who’ve done this have set their creativity levels rocketing and carried this mind-set into their business) or photography. The import aspect to this is that it opens up a new world to you which brings a fresh perspective to your life inside and outside of work.
3. Scout for Talent:
- Search out the young. The adage that businesses cannot carry any passengers in today’s climate is more important than ever recruiting bright young talent which is hungry and keen for success is vital to the company’s vibrancy and longevity.
- Go outside your field. Don’t seek out this talent in the obvious places such as recruitment agencies – they are the last place where you’ll find them. Look closely at who you come into contact with as a consumer, traveller, property owner, investor, through networking and social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Invest time and hire on attitude and not just experience. You need people with mental toughness in the business who won’t fall at the first hurdle. When doing this exercise put the microscope on your existing team to determine who is the weakest link – and then take the necessary steps.
Remember first and foremost, your growth strategy is your formula for enabling you to live the life you’ve always wanted and plan for your retirement. For help in kick starting your growth strategy leave a comment below, e-mail me via firstname.lastname@example.org, go to @RichardWhatIf on Twitter, Richard Bosworth on LinkedIn or post on www.whatifforums.com.