10 tips for growing your business

When it comes to growing your business, there are about a million different things that you could do, but let’s break it down to 10 simple tips that you can follow to grow your business from the ground up.

Develop a mission that you and your team can stand behind. It’s important to have this as part of your company’s DNA or your brand’s DNA that you can build on. It’s really foundational to your company to have a mission you can stand behind. At CloudBooks, for example, we have a mission of helping small businesses grow. Very simple, but that’s our mission, and we know that by doing that, we feel like we make the world a better place because businesses can hire people, they can help improve their communities, they can donate to local charities and all these things because they’re doing well as a business and they’re growing. So that’s our core mission. What’s yours?

Invest in marketing. That is so crucial. Bill Gates once said that if you had $10,000 to start a business, you should invest $9,000 in marketing, and that’s so true because you could have the greatest product or service in the whole world, but if nobody hears about it, then you’re not going to do very well, you’re not going to grow your business. So it’s important to invest in marketing to develop a marketing budget that you can start with and then plan on growing that budget as you grow the revenue of your company. The Harvard Business School says you should invest anywhere from 7% and 15% of your revenue back into marketing to propel future growth.

That tip has been very successful throughout the years. We’ve seen that be successful with countless small businesses, so make sure that you’re investing in marketing. And then when you’re marketing, make sure that you cover all areas, make sure you’re multichannel, which would be to dominate search for your best keywords, social for your best demographics, local for the maps and local listings and reputation. If you do well in those areas, you’re going to grow your brand from a marketing perspective.

Passionate about sales. There’s this saying in sport that winning is the best deodorant because it covers up the stinky spots. Well, that’s sales for a business. If you’re doing well with sales, it really covers up a lot of weak patches for you. It pushes you through and helps you continually grow. But if your sales aren’t doing well, even if you have everything locked in solid on the backend, you’re not going to see that growth. So make sure that you’re working on sales. Focus on sales. Have people that are passionate about sales leading your sales team. Measure things like opening ratio, what percentage of the leads are you opening and turning into sales and always work to optimize and improve upon that. If you have a culture that’s passionate about sales, you have a culture that’s passionate about the growth and really taking advantage of your marketing most effectively to have the highest return on investment and making sure that you as a brand can achieve your mission.

Growing your business is to have scalable and repeatable processes. Processes are so crucial. That’s one thing we’ve known throughout the years is that we have to have processes and those processes have to constantly be optimized as you grow. What works with 10 people won’t necessarily work with 20, what works with 20 won’t work with 100. So as you grow your brand, grow your company, make sure that you’re constantly fine-tuning and optimizing your processes, make sure that you have processes, they’re documented processes, and you can measure to those processes. If you don’t have a standardized process, you don’t have a process at all, which means you’re free for all. So to have a scalable company that’s just as efficient when you have 100 people as when you had 10, you have to really focus on repeatable and scalable processes.

Hire people that have the culture fit that you’re looking for, not the experience fit that you’re looking for. Culture alignment is so much more powerful than experience because if you have standardized processes, you can train people on those processes. They don’t necessarily have to have previous experience. It might take them a little bit longer to ramp up, but ultimately, you’ll end up with a better person if they fit your culture and they align with your mission over the experience that you might be looking for in the door.

Measure the performance of people, but also to measure their attitude and their effort. It’s not always about performance. If you have somebody that’s not performing that well but they have a great attitude and they put forth great effort, their performance will probably get there if you give them some time and give them some coaching. So it’d be long-suffering in that situation. At the same time though, if you have somebody that’s performing very well but they’re struggling with regards to their attitude or their effort, this is probably not somebody that’s going to be a positive influence on your company and on your brand and on your culture, so you may want to consider replacing them if they’re not going to improve in those areas. So make sure that you measure people based on attitude, effort, performance. Try to have A/B players in all three of those buckets across the board and you’re going to be successful.

Listen to feedback from your team and also your customers and make adjustments accordingly. We do something here as a company which is called the 410, which is we close at 4:00, so we say from 4:00 to 4:10, at the beginning of every month, submit a 410 survey, which is just a very short online form that basically allows people to submit shout outs for their teammates, build some positive reinforcement there, submit training tips and recommendations for process improvement that they might have and also submit other ideas for maybe products that we should introduce, additional services that we could offer. This is a great way to capture feedback once a month from your internal team, which speaks on behalf of your customers as well, so it’s almost like killing two birds with one stone. You get the feedback from your team on behalf of your customers so that you can make adjustments as needed, as you grow to offer new products, generate more revenue, increase and improve upon processes that you’ve laid in over the years. So listen to this feedback.

Also, read online reviews from your customers, reply to those reviews, you capture feedback there, and you can also do customer surveys maybe biannually or annually to capture feedback. The key is capturing feedback and then actually doing something with it, taking action so that you can improve.

Hold an all-hands meeting with your team once a week and at minimum, once a month. At this all-hands meeting, everybody should be there. It can be a stand format. They don’t need to be seated. Just a short five to 10-minute meeting, and talk about transparency within your company. Where do you stand for a goal? What areas can you improve? What changes are on the horizon? Be honest with your team and be transparent with your team so that they’re on the same page. Communication is the key to growth. And if everybody’s on the same page and they know the good, the bad and the ugly, they’re going to be aligned with the mission and the goals moving forward as a brand. This is going to help you grow tremendously, so take advantage of this and don’t be afraid to do it.

Constantly building future leaders for your company. As you grow as a company, leadership is going to be essential to your success. You can’t possibly be the leader forever as a business owner, so you need to continually build additional leaders. And you’re going to lose people for all kinds of reasons. It could have a family that could move out of town, they could find another opportunity, and so don’t let that beat you up. If you’re constantly building and harvesting future leaders, they’re going to step right in and you’re going to be successful as a brand. So work on leadership development, communication, and coaching of your entire team, not just your leadership team, so that you’re continually building future leaders for your company.

Remember, nothing’s as good as it seems and nothing’s as bad as it seems, but somewhere in the middle lies reality. So never get too excited or never get too down. Always stay kind of even keel there. Stay cool, stay calm, and just keep working hard towards your mission. Keep making adjustments and improving along the way. Growing looks like this, right? It’s not a straight line. So just stay level set and that will help your team stay that way as well so they don’t panic in bad situations or get too overly confident in good situations. Just stay the line, stay the course, and eventually, if you stay at it long enough, you’re going to be successful. You’re going to grow your business.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully, these 10 tips on growing your business are helpful to you. If you have additional tips, please leave a comment with those power tips so our community can see those as well.