Growth Requires Focus – Taking Action Now Can Insure a Brighter Future
Are you spending all of your time worried about the state of your business? Is the relentless flow of bad economic news paralyzing you from making important decisions? Learn what you need to do to take action that will grow your sales and overtake your competition when the economy returns.
Where your focus goes, your energy flows. That’s why small business owners who focus too much on the current economic condition, sacrifice the very real opportunity to grow and achieve market dominance down the road.
In the midst of the stock market’s recent downturn Warren Buffet was quoted as saying, “when the market gets greedy, I become fearful. But when the market becomes fearful, I get greedy”. In other words, finding opportunities to grow may mean doing things that the majority of people are not doing. Many times, going in a different direction can yield significantly better returns. This principle holds true for small businesses trying to survive during an economic downturn.
Recently, Houston-based Administaff (NYSE: ASF), a human resource services provider published the results of their latest business confidence survey. Of 6,200 small and medium-sized businesses surveyed across the U.S., 37% of owners expected higher rates of growth in 2009. A similar percentage of owners (38%) felt that 2009 would be no better than 2008. What causes some owners to be optimistic when others feel that the future is bleak? It’s what the business owner is focused on and competition is neglecting, that creates the confidence and certainty about the ability to grow.
At a time when other businesses are cutting back, down-sizing, reducing staff or eliminating marketing budgets, business owners who want to seize the opportunity for growth and future market dominance, need to do the following:
·Avoid ‘The Vanilla Syndrome’. Evaluate your product or service position to separate and distinguish yourself from your competition. If you look and feel like everyone else who provides a similar offering, that’s how you’ll be viewed by your customers. Determine whether you are faster, environmentally safer, more knowledgeable, etc. until you figure out what makes you different. Having a unique point of difference will convey value in the consumer’s mind and make you less reliant on discount pricing schemes to compete for sales.
·Determine who your ideal customer is. Not everyone wants what you have to sell and the ones who are lukewarm will put price at the top of their decision-making list. Know exactly who your ideal customer is and what they want. Your unique offering and the marketing message that conveys it will resonate with these customers who in turn will pay your price, stay with you and refer others to you.
·Increase your personal market exposure. Do more networking in your local community. Find events to attend that will expose you and your business to potential customers and others who may refer friends to you. People do business with people they know and like. Delivering your marketing message during these events will enable you to explain why you do what you do so uniquely.
·Tune-up your website. Make sure the message and content of your website reflects the uniqueness of your business and the ‘wants’ of your ideal clients. People visit websites today as much for validation as they do for information. A poorly designed or dysfunctional website will throw up red flags in the minds of customers who don’t have any experience doing business with you.
·Spend you time on your highest revenue producing activity. When business is slow, it’s natural to want to stay busy by doing routine chores or mundane activities. Delegate these tasks to others who find them rewarding and spend your time marketing your business.
·If you are unsure, get help. Don’t continue doing the same things and expecting the results to be different. Seek out help from trusted colleagues or business services that can assist you in executing an effective business strategy. The economy will recover and being ill-prepared for the upswing is an opportunity truly lost.
John Assaraf, the CEO and co-founder of OneCoach, a leading small business coaching company based in San Diego offers this perspective; “Knowledge without action is useless. Until you decide to take action on the things you know you should be doing to grow your business, your results will be no different from the businesses who decide to hunker down until the economic storm passes”.
Taking action on the above points is the best strategy for pursuing growth in your business. Best of all, your financial investment is minimal. Conversely, taking no action will only create a sense of dependence on the economy and continued focus on what the rest of the market is doing.
Tags: Business Growth, Business Growth Practices, Business Planning, Growing a Business