Sounds simple, right? But how you grow your business often determines whether you’ll be making great money long term, or if you’ll have to close the doors in a year or two.
Have you worked through this process? Are you crystal clear on all of these things? Are they written down and regularly in front of you and your team? What other questions do you have about this topic? Hit reply and let us know your questions.
No time to watch the video? No prob, we got you.
How do I grow my small business?
One of the primary things we hear from small business owners is they want to grow. This probably doesn’t surprise you because you want your business to grow, too.
As a regular contributor for Business Insider, small business growth strategy is what I get asked to write about most. It seems simple, but what does that mean and how do you do it? I turned in a story to my BI editor this week that walked through how to determine how you want to grow, identify your role in the business, and then (and only then) the tactics to do it. I’ll post that link when it’s live, but for now I’lll share a simplified version.
1. Decide what you want your business to do for you and what your ideal role in it is. Many people are great bakers, so they think they should open a bakery. Do you actually want to bake cakes all day everyday? Or will you be managing people to do the baking and you’ll be creating the systems to optimize operational efficiencies and generate sales? E-Myth by Michael Gerber does a great job distinguishing between your jobs as the Entrepreneur, the Technician, and the Manager in a small business. Often, the entrepreneur is only an Entrepreneur for a second (when they get the idea to start the business), then work primarily as a Technicians in the business (the baker, in this example), or as a Manager of the business (overseeing the baking and sales of cakes). All take very different skill sets and will require very different things of you personally.
2. Start with Why. If your desired role in your business isn’t abundantly clear, read the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek. If you’re hoping to leverage sustainable business opportunities for the long haul, you’re going to need to know precisely why. Your “why” will guide ideas you should move forward on and what you should stay away from. For me, personally, my “why” is to help small business owners uncover possibilities to make a living doing what they love. This purpose (kind of my personal mission statement) determines the services my business offers and, if something comes my way that’s outside of that scope, I can quickly and confidently say “no, thank you” and move on.
3. Tell your story like it’s your job to make people care. Are you familiar with the story arc? It’s critical in attracting and keeping peoples’ attention and is comprised of a Hero, a Trusted Guide with a Plan that helps the Hero overcome adversity, ensuring success and preventing a very painful failure. Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller provides some great framework for this concept. Spoiler alert- you’re not the Hero in your story, your customer is. Can you guess what your role is? Read my key-takeaways from this book to learn more.
4. Cultivate brand ambassadors.Once you have people caring about what you do and why you do it, start collecting and empowering the people that can relate to this. The book Creating Customer Evangelists by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba highlight how, early in her career, Lady Gaga deployed her super fans into worldwide fame and how small businesses can use some of the same tactics. Read my key-takeaways from this book to learn more.