Are you trying to grow your business? Do you want to know the secret to growing your business?
The secret is……there is no secret.
Well, as I see it there are only 2 ways to grow your business – fat or slow. Now slow growth – that is the kind where you get a 10% growth over the year, maybe 20%, possibly 30%. That is usually made up of doing more of the same. You maybe get a few more recommendations, you run a couple of adverts that seem to work, your people get faster and slicker at doing what they do, and you see a nice slow growth happening.
If that’s you and you are happy with that – then that’s great. There is a lot to be said about steady growth. It is not risky for one thing. Steady growth means you have everything in place to cope. You are doing a good job. And things are trogging along nicely.
The danger of slow growth is that you may not have enough fat in there or enough momentum to counter economic or competitive attacks. If you have been trogging along at 10% growth – how much do you have in the tank to see you through a down turn? And how quickly can you respond in your – this is how we do things – style?
Slow growth may seem to be the less risky option – but is it really?
On the other hand you can grow fast. The problem with fast growth, is that sometimes businesses don’t cope too well. For example, when I was regional manager of Computer Futures, we saw phenomenal growth. We went from 3 or 4 offices and 2 brand names to something like 27 and 13 brand names in 5 years. And because of their (noble) policy of only promoting from within, there was a time when all sorts of unskilled and inexperienced people were being promoted above their level of competence. Which led to some very poor decisions. Which led to a mass exodus of talent at one point.
So – there are definite dangers to growing too fast. One of them – as above – is not being flexible enough to change your strategy when required. The other big danger of fast growth is cashflow. You get more orders – you need more team members and more kit, but you have to pay out for that before you get the moolah in from your clients? That’s a danger. So avoid it. Talk to your bank manager and get funding in place in case you need it. Change your invoicing strategy with your clients and get the money up front.
When I opened Carolefossey.com in 2015, which is the recruitment arm of our business – we changed our model from – “you pay us when we have done a massive amount of work, found you the right person, and after they have started” (never been a great model), to “you pay us monthly – starting in the month we take on the assignment and for as long as you are paying us (min 6 months) then you get a free replacement if something happens to that human being” – as things tend to in life sometimes.
No other recruitment firm works that way as far as I know – but as a start up I knew (having run 4 previous start ups) that cashflow in the first 12 months is critical, and I was prepared to forgo the big rush of a big one time fee, for the regularity of smaller monthly payments. My clients love it too.
OK – so with the caveat of – watch out for the potential dangers in fast growth – I will take fast growth over slow growth any day of the week. And here is why.
Slow growth is painful. There are too many months of ‘how do we pay all the bills’ or ‘how do we find extra cash for advertising.
Fast growth is fun. It is exciting, exhilarating, yes tiring sometimes but mostly energising.
I like seeing my bank balance in the black
I like having choices about what to do with that cash (grow the business, put aside for a rainy day, go to Barbados (oh yes just did that all those in the past 12 months).
Your team can see their future opportunities, as the business visibly grows and they are therefore a lot more likely to stick with you through the tough times (which are shorter than they would otherwise be).
I’m getting less patient as I get older – so fast does it for me.
OK – you have decided to grow it fast – so what are the strategies and tactics you need to put in place to make that happen? Well THAT is a huge subject and too big for just this one blog, but just the decision to do that – rather than a ‘let’s just work hard and see what happens’ approach – is going to make a big difference to start with.
If you are interested in finding out the detail – I invite you to come along to The Dream Board. This is a mastermind all about fast business growth. This is not for you if you are stuck in a lack mentality. What I mean by that is if you have thoughts like ‘I can’t afford to spend on advertising’, or – ‘I don’t have the money to join a mastermind group’. This IS for you if you are determined to grow your business come what may, if you know that in order to get a return you have to make an investment and if you are up for some hard work and some fun.
The date of our first Dream Board is Weds 20th September and because we want this to be a no brainer to try – the price for the first event is only £49.00 – and that includes entry into our Leading Women in Business Network event “Fizz Fun and Fab Females” immediately after for you or a colleague. (Men are welcome – as long as you are a feminist!).
The focus of the first meeting will be understanding where you are now and where you want to be, and the ‘big steps’ you need to have in your action plan to get there.
Let me know if you would like to attend on [email protected] or go here, look for the ‘Dream Board, ticket and book your place. I will then be in touch before the event to understand more about you and your business and what you want to achieve.