Tag Archives: business growth

Smart Growth Strategies

For a free business coaching session, click on the image.How do you continue to grow your small business in an increasingly uncertain economy? It’s a question many entrepreneurs are asking themselves, and the answer may lie in taking a relatively simple approach to growing your business.

Here are five pragmatic steps businesses can take as they work their way to profitability.

1. Right size your business
One of the biggest costs for small businesses is their office space. With more professionals working remotely, traditional, long-term leases are underutilized and expensive. The capital invested in property would be better directed at growing your company. Businesses looking ahead to 2013 should consider where they need to be and for how long. Does your business need a permanent office? Are you scalable? If your employees are not all in the office at the same time, would flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges make sense? Ask yourself these questions before you commit to something that won’t work in six months’ time.

2. Get flexible so your business can react to change
Explore today’s many flexible working options such as co-working, home-working and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity. Give workers the option to work from home occasionally or from a business center closer to home. With the ongoing struggle to improve work-life balance, giving employees more control over their work day will help retain your best talent.

3. Reach out for new customers
You don’t have to be the victim of a sluggish economy. This could be the perfect time to take assess and go for new opportunities in new markets. Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors. Use a virtual office (prestigious address and select office support). One challenge of expansion is securing a large enough client base to justify an additional office. With no upfront capital required and minimal risk, a virtual office solves that problem.

4. Leverage Technology in lieu of Business Travel
There’s a range of mobile technology that can help you cut down on your business travel costs. Videconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.

5. Learn from your mistakes
Symbolically, the New Year represent a clean slate your business. Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013. Did you do enough research about your customers? Did you spend enough time analyzing your data? Did your analysis confirm your assumptions? Every business will make a mistake. It’s what you do with the knowledge you now have that will make the difference.

Grant Greenberg is responsible for all PR and social media activity in North America for Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces. In this role, Grant is responsible for building Regus into a nationally recognized brand by designing communications programs that deliver measurable results across multiple channels. Prior to working at Regus, Grant was an award-winning broadcast journalist in New York, Boston and Florida. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives in New York City. Contact Grant directly: Grant.Greenberg@regus.com.

Four Decisions for Growth – Part I

As a Certified Gazelles Coach (one of only 45 worldwide) I work with clients using a method developed by Verne Harnish that is referred to as the “Four Decisions.” 

In business, “Gazelles” are growth firms, they are job generators that will do the most to get our national economy back on track and the leaders of these growth firms continue to grow their businesses despite uncertain times. Gazelles by definition are those organizations that grow by 20% or more each year for at least 5 years in a row. In order to be a gazelle, you must get these four decisions right: people, strategy, execution & cash. At any given time the challenges in one of these four areas may over shadow the rest, therefore you’re looking to choose which one of the four to focus on next. 

Over the next four weeks we will focus on each of these areas, one per week. This week we will talk about…

PEOPLE: All businesses rely on people in some capacity. From the employees of the company, to the customers or clients they serve and the shareholders of the business… and while systems are important, it is your people decisions that are the most vital. Getting, keeping and growing good people are imperative because the people outcome means happiness.

People come with many challenges and they can impact our happiness. They can be a source of energy or an emotional drain. We can have issues with partners, customers, suppliers, key employees or even challenges at home and sometimes it can be just a lack of enough good employees to serve the needs of our customers and all the needs that we face. The first and simplest question you should ask yourself is:

Do you enjoy going to work each day?

If in fact that’s true then you probably don’t have as many people issues as most other organizations. But if on the other hand you hesitate to answer that question positively then maybe you should think about the people you have.

Would you enthusiastically rehire all the employees that currently work for you?

If not what are you going to do about that? Is there opportunity to resolve the issues? Or is there an opportunity to make a few changes to improve the quantity and quality of the folks who work for you.

If I were to show up at your place of business and ask your employees “Why do you get paid”?  do you think they’d give me the answer you would like to hear? In other words do your people understand their role and the goals that are set for them? Do they have very specific KPI’s…Key Performance Indicators? Are they measured and evaluated against those?

You should think about the value that your employees provide to the organization. How much profit and how much revenue is generated for every dollar of salary and benefits paid? It’s an interesting way to see if the folks are earning their keep. Business growth happens easily when the sweet spot for the product and services is identified, defined and targeted.

So, getting the right mix of people with the skills needed for the organization is always a challenge but, it is essential to have not only the right people in the right seats, doing the right things right but also generating enough revenue and profit that you can afford to keep them.

Productivity and happiness many times go hand in hand. When the right people are all aligned, the culture of the organization is solid and the business will run smoothly. If the employees are doing their jobs and clients are satisfied purchasers of products and services, owners (shareholders) see the profitability and growth of the company and all are happy. 

While this seems a little simplistic, it doesn’t happen without the next principle: Strategy.

NOTE: We will run part two in this blog post series next week.

Dave Baney brings over 30 years of Fortune 500 management and leadership experience to growing businesses nationwide through 55 Questions’ tools and processes. Known for crisp execution, marketing insight and thoughtful direction, he is now a trusted advisor for CEOs. Contact Dave directly: dbaney@55questions.com