As President of Strategy Leaders, Andi Gray has a long history of helping businesses grow, and an uncanny knack for helping entrepreneurs get to the next level.
See how your business habits stack up against Andi’s rock solid advice:
1. An Exit Strategy: What’s your “number”?
This may seem like a surprising place to start, but we all retire eventually. Without creating a clear business plan and valuation target from the get-go, will you be able to scale back when you want to?
You may be passionate about what you do, but have you thought about your business as a salable asset and the primary vehicle for your own personal wealth creation?
Habit # 1: Work backwards from your financial end goal. Be clear about your needs, and then map out a long-range growth plan for your business, to get you there.
2. An All Star Elevator Pitch
Do you choose your customers, or do your customers choose you? Have you established your value clearly in the mind of customers and prospects?
Listen closely the next time you give your elevator pitch. A fuzzy pitch can be a tip off that your business is not well positioned against competitors. This in turn can limit your growth potential.
Habit #2: Develop qualifying questions for target customers, clear boundaries for your product or service offering, and a compelling way of communicating your USP (unique difference).
3. A Plan To Scale Your Business and Hire Employees
Have you hired and delegated day-to-day tasks to employees, creating time for you to focus on business development and growth? Or are you a “one-man band”, struggling through an endless cycle of feast or famine?
The hands-on, “chief cook and bottle washer” business model is called a “practice”. While it can provide an income, it will never scale or create real wealth.
Habit #3: Become the executive running your business, and hire/train employees to help deliver your product or service to a growing roster of clients.
4. A Framework For Business Owner Accountability
You may love being your own boss … but there’s a downside. Unless you have accountability for establishing and hitting real targets, your business can drift sideways without making much-needed course corrections for growth.
Habit #4: Plan for steady growth (i.e., +15% top line growth year over year), AND be accountable for results. Cull out the bottom 5% of customers annually. Eliminate clients that unduly drain resources or don’t fit your “sweet spot”.
5. A Plan To Fill In Strategic Gaps
What skills and systems is your business missing, and how will you add them? Do you have the right attitude towards change? Are you willing to invest the time, money, and effort to grow?
You may need to change your business model in order to reach your goals, i.e., partner strategically with other businesses, qualify prospects and new clients differently, create new systems, hire to fill gaps, rethink your marketing, etc.
Habit #5: Invest the effort to identify gaps, and learn how to fill them … or face the likelihood of staying exactly where you are.
3 Out of 4 New Businesses Won’t Last! Will Yours?
Each business cycle, 3 out of 4 new businesses fail. Despite this, there’s never been a better time to build a business.
There are lots of low cost online tools that can make businesses more visible and efficient than ever: CRM automation, social media, mobile websites, management dashboards, etc. The place to invest, according to Andi, is in your own intellectual capital.
What are your biggest entrepreneurial challenges?
PS: If your business isn’t working as well as it should, Andi will be speaking at the New York Business Expo next week. Learn what it takes to get your business to the next level … and see you at the Expo! To Register: click here.
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