Business Growth – Tips and Techniques
With the economic recovery moving at a snail’s pace, finding a job is tough. The unemployed are choosing unpaid internships in order to get their foot in the door. And although this might be an effective strategy for establishing a name for yourself, it does little in terms of putting food on the table.
Grow your Business
So how do people build a future and pay the bills in these harsh financial times? The answer is a web-based business.
Assembly of online tools
If you’re willing to put forth the effort, a web hosting firm can offer you a strong assembly of online tools to not only setup a formidable website, but present a well-polished brand. After you have setup your new website, fast forward a few weeks and you have a new job. You are now faced with the task of growing your business—and fast!
With these twelve tips you can possibly advance your business to prosperity sooner than you can schedule your next job interview.
If you can only do one thing in social media, focus on listening. There are so many things to notice, so many networks, so many tools. But it all starts with listening. Listen for search terms that your customers or prospects would be using. If you are a law firm, look for search terms like “need a lawyer”. Listening is 50% of all communication.
2. Is your Partner the Marrying type?
When you think about picking investors or partners, it is someone that you are going to spend a lot of time with. It is almost like marrying this person. How smart is this person? If you could only take a few people in a boat and you are sailing across the Atlantic, would you pick this person. Are they someone that cares about the vision of the company? When picking a partner or investor, vet them. Find out how that person treats others. Vet them very seriously. Pay attention to the tone and attention of that person. Is this person someone that you are excited about and is this person someone to which you can ask stupid questions. Vet this person almost as much as you would vet someone you are planning to get married to.
In the beginning, ask yourself, what are ten things that separate me from everyone else that is doing something similar. Everything in the world has been done before so if you are not doing something different then the word will not get out about you. Do something unique, random and something that clicks. Don’t stop at ten ideas. Keep everyone on their toes and re-invent yourself any chance you get.
4. Perfect your Pitch
There is only one thing that is more important that talent and that is your pitch. One of the things that has been discovered is that people skills, ability to be a good player, team member, responsibility and confidence. Your confidence can make the biggest difference of all. If you can not be contagious and sell yourself and your story then you will not be successful. In this business environment, you must be contagious and confident.
5. Money Management
Entrepreneurs and money management is a tricky thing. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and dreamers which can create a wonderful company, but also a mess of a portfolio. Look at yourself critically. In terms of your job, are you a stock or a bond?
A job that is “stock like” that is highly volatile with a lot of risk and uneven cash flow, and because of this, you should be carefully organized such that assets are invested in a safe “bond like” environment. If, however, your job is like a tenured professor, we call this a “bond like” job which is more safe. In this scenario, you can afford to take more risk in your portfolio. Overall, however, entrepreneurs are in a risky environment and they should be in a safe place.
Investors are similar to spouses. Really!
If you approach an investor and articulate what the use of the funds are, it is an easier conversation to have rather than what the proposed valuation of the company is. Many entrepreneurs ask “how much money should I be asking for”. A valuation is something that usually happens for a more mature entity. After you have revenue and profits you can be valued on a multiple of your EBIDA (earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization). If, however, you are an early stage company and you have zero revenue and zero profit, then it becomes difficult to start thinking about valuation. Forget about those guys at Instagram because that scenario is something that is nearly impossible to replicate. It is not realist to try and replicate that. The truth is that raising capital is usually involves giving away a lot of equity in your company and not getting a lot of money in return. That is just the nature of the business.
7. Debt and Loans
The most important thing to do when you are looking for a loan is to figure out exactly what loan product you need so you can target your search and be sure you are speaking to the right lenders. If you are going to evolving and growing some company debt, which could be healthy., there are many options that are often not understood in the market.
Some debt options for young start-ups, if you are selling to other businesses and you have hard purchase orders, that becomes a great asset that can help you to leverage to grow. There are purchase order financiers out there who will lend you the money necessary to fulfill your order and sell it to the store. If you have inventory, you can consider an inventory loan. There are lenders who will consider a line of credit against your inventory. Or if you have inventory and accounts receivable, you can consider an asset-based loan which is a lender who will consider a combination of the accounts receivable and the inventory. With the factoring on asset based line, or some kind of accounts receivable financing, you can jump-start your cash flow to help you with payroll and other type of adjustments in a way that can keep your business growing and evolving while at the same time keep control of your business, instead of giving pieces of it away to investors to fund your working capital needs.
8. Getting into Whole Foods
Whole Foods posses a certain cache, that when you do get into Whole Foods it is very important for the rest of the industry. So if you are thinking about getting into Whole Foods, it comes down to authenticity. So making sure that you meet their requirements and their standards. So if its fair-trade, organic, the sourcing — all of those things matter a great deal to Whole Foods and that is why we love Whole Foods. Their corporate headquarters do not make the decisions because they are regionally managed. There are over 12 different Whole Foods regions, and this can make it a tedious process. But you have an opportunity to build your company in a grass-roots way which is invaluable.
9. Grow your Network Effectively and Sincerely
The most effective and successful entrepreneurs have very strong networks surrounding them. Whether it be a network that the business owner has built himself or they are fortunate enough to be in a strong ecosystem. And the entrepreneurs who have the greatest challenges are the ones who haven’t built that network up. No matter what the challenge is, whether it be hiring talent, get customers, or gain access to capital, it is the quality of the network around the entrepreneur that is going to help him/her address those challenges. Investing time in connecting with other entrepreneurs is important for your business. Whatever you do to build your network is not only good for your business but also good for the context of the community. Whatever you do to build your network around you is also strengthening your community.
Key strategies include:
- Decide it is important for your business. Actually investing time and energy in it is important. This means going to local conferences or meet-ups, taking time out to even host office hours yourself so you can connect with other entrepreneurs. Ideally finding people who are behind you in the stages of the development of your company and are ahead of you in the stages of the development of your company.
- Look for those companies that are ahead of you in the stages of development and seek out relationships with those founding teams. It will help you with your business and also create better connections up and down the chain. Even at the very beginning of your business, starting to create relationships with which you can invest in others is important because if you can help others advance their business, you will actually very deeply know it and recognize challenges in your own business by just helping others. As an individual entrepreneur, you have as much an obligation to build your product and advance your customers, but also build your network and invest time and energy in that. If we do this across the United States, we will have one of the strongest most networked start-up economies in the world.
10. Toughen Up, Soldier!
One of the first things that comes to mind when an entrepreneur goes through a rough patch is to remember why you do what you do. Going back to the purpose of why you started the business and what your ultimate goal is should inform every decision you make and how you approach disappointment. The other thing that is important to remember is where you are now versus where you have been. The current valley is higher than your previous peak. Remember what you are made of. What distinguishes a “doer” from a “dreamer” is the way in which you approach defeat. True entrepreneurs know that there is no success without failure. You must experience those things in order to get up, dust yourself off and keep going.
11. Predictable Success—A Growth Strategy
Predictable success is essentially the apex of the life cycle that all businesses goes through. Essentially all companies go through three growth stages. Predictable success is when an organization has reached perfect balance. It is still innovative and can still be very flexible, but it has systems and processes in place that enable it to scale. You know you have reached predictable success if you can be sure that you can grow to whatever size your industry will allow.
The number one challenge if you have reached that stage is that you have got to institutionalize your vision. To stay in predictable success, its no longer the case that you as the founder and owner can be the bottle neck of the vision for the organization. You have got to step back from the front line. You have to mentor and coach. You need to bring in really good lieutenants who get your vision and understand what you are trying to do so you are no longer that bottleneck to growth.
12. Rule No. 1 of Great Marketing
The best marketing is essentially a great product. The best way to approach this is to start with the fundamental reason and purpose why you went into business. Does the world need you to exist? It is extremely efficient when you build and bake the marketing into the product itself. Make it interesting, innovative and unique in terms of solving a problem. It makes it easier to manage your company and a little more fun. If you can identify that in a much more precise way, you have your entire organization essentially leaning in the right direction as apposed to using some type of external articulation of who you are and why you exist to get people to stand up and salute in the right direction. If you get those things lined up: a product that is interesting with the marketing baked into it, the people that are designed to bring the product to market all bought in with an understanding as to why they are doing this and what their purposeful meanings are, it is going to be a lot easier, effective, cost-effective and successful in communicating it to external audiences.