An old friend called recently and asked, “Can you help my business grow?”. After initially fast growth, he’s pretty much steady state now.
Here’s how he describes it in his own words, “I grew the business really fast for the first five or six years, but then it seemed to hit a barrier. I want to make my business grow again, I don’t want to be stuck at this turnover forever.”
Trevor started his business 12 years ago, grew it quickly to £2.5 Million and then it seemed to hit a barrier and stopped growing. He has always wanted to increase turnover to £10 million, but the dream faded as he got busier and busier.
He’s frustrated with a few things in business – his marketing doesn’t produce decent leads and so every lead has to be produced from hard work in the sales team. The sales team are his second big complaint – he’s the top seller and nobody comes close to his figures.
We got talking over a cup of coffee about the starting point for making your business grow. Before going into that, let’s just look first at what stops you from growing further.
Making Your Business Grow, Despite The Peter Principle…
You may have heard the quote that goes along the lines of “everybody reaches their own level of incompetence”. It comes from a 1960’s book called The Peter Principle, which pokes fun at the idea that we promote people who are performing well until they reach the level they can no longer cope.
The same is true in business. Your business grows in line with your own abilities. If you want to make your business grow beyond where it is today, you need to step up yourself, too.
Trevor has pushed his business to his current personal limits. But just because you reach your limits doesn’t mean making your business grow is impossible. In fact, once you figure out how your thinking is constraining your business, you can do something about it…
What Needs to Change to Make Your Business Grow Again?
In simple terms, we just need to find out what your personal limitations are (we call these your constraints) and then lift these so that your natural strengths can shine through again. Doing these two simple things are major steps in helping your business grow again.
While he’s an excellent salesman himself, Trevor is neglecting business strategy, people development, marketing and a myriad of other things that the managing director of a fast-growth £2.5M per annum business simply must do if he wants to create sustainable business growth.
Think of it like the development of the engine – Trevor is so busy stoking the fire in the steam engine of his business that he doesn’t realise that he could replace it with a jet engine!
For Different Results, Take Different Actions
Trevor really wants his business to grow more, but if he keeps doing the same things, he’ll keep getting the same results. And he’s full of reasons not to change – “too busy”, “it won’t work”, etc. It all boils down to him being afraid of changing the routine that has got him to where he is.
And that really is the problem. It’s not comfortable to change what you do now. It’s not easy to do new things that carry the risk of going wrong while you’re learning. Learning is all about making mistakes quickly and cheaply so that you can figure out what will work for you.
Trevor has never had a high performing sales team because he can sell on his own to around £1.5M per annum. His other sales guys between them get nowhere near his personal sales. He moans about them every time we talk.
No Pain, No Gain, No Business Growth…
The pain of making them perform well (including maybe replacing some of them) is something he keeps avoiding. You can’t make your business grow with this attitude. The Law of The Jungle and evolutionary theory tell us that it’s all about the survival of the fittest. That includes business, too.
If he’s to achieve a new level of success, he needs to look in the mirror and realise that his role is bigger than just being the top sales person. He needs to step up, or his business will stay in the steam age.
Do you know anybody like Trevor?
If you’re stuck at a certain level of business and refuse to try out new ways of thinking about your business, you’ll still be asking “help my business grow” in 10 year’s time. You’re the leader, the boss – as the saying goes, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me”.
How Much Could Your Business Grow?
I call my approach to helping you grow your business double your business coaching. It is based on the strategies introduced in my book, Double Your Business, Break Through The Barriers to Higher Growth, Turnover and Profit, which was commissioned by Financial Times Publishing.
Get in touch if you’d like to talk about growing your business. You never know where it might lead.