This time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in all the holiday festivities, but it’s actually the perfect time to focus on how you are going to grow your business in the coming year. Push the holiday treats aside and let’s discuss six ways you and your company can start to experience exponential growth.
1. Examine your systems
First, let me emphasize the point that growth in any business is not sustainable without solid, structured systems in place that can support it. If you’ve heard me speak before, you’ve probably heard me mention the book “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. He talks about the concept of working “on” your business and getting away from working “in” your business, but you have to have your business structured in such a way that allows for that to happen. Otherwise, you haven’t gotten out of the technician role because you’re still involved in the daily operations.
This book helped me so much during the early phase of building my business that we actually have Certified E-Myth consultants on our team at The Blue Collar Success Group. In essence, if your business is going to grow, someone needs to be working on the vision, next steps, and overall direction.
2. Have a clear growth plan
Part of creating effective systems in your business is establishing a clear path in the form of a growth plan. What do you want your business to look like in the future, and what are the action steps necessary to make that happen? This isn’t just setting goals, it’s the who, what, why and how behind the vision and goals. It includes who will be held responsible for every aspect, what will they be doing, why are they doing it, and how the benchmark will eventually be reached within the stated time frame.
I recommend breaking larger growth plans into smaller time intervals so that you always know where you are in relation to where you want to be. Some of my clients have daily accountability meetings while others break goals down into monthly chunks and managers simply monitor progress between monthly meetings. It’s really a matter of your culture and what you feel is necessary to drive movement in your company.
3. Be creative and innovative
In your planning and accountability meetings, when you are discussing your growth plan, encourage your team members to focus on creative thinking. Foster idea sharing and brainstorming. Get your team members involved in unique marketing ideas and community events that you haven’t done before.
Don’t get me wrong — if something is working great, keep doing it, but there is always room for improvement and new ideas in all areas of the company. Just because you’ve “always done it that way” doesn’t mean you should still be doing it. Just because something works doesn’t mean that it’s the most efficient way to get it accomplished. Think about a company like Apple. They are constantly working on the next version of what exists because they know there is more that can be done, more that can be offered, and a more efficient way to get things done.
4. Maximize your current offerings
As we’re discussing creative thinking and new ideas, what are some areas where you can diversify in your business? Now, as I mention diversification, don’t automatically jump to adding an entirely new service. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to add electrical if you are in plumbing or HVAC, especially if you haven’t maximized your current offerings. I’m talking about adding a new product line, maybe something unique to your market, or going deeper into a current offering.
For example, if you already sell water treatment but don’t sell that much of it, start to focus on really training your team members about its features and benefits. Maybe they simply aren’t confident enough in that product and need enhanced training surrounding the technical or sales aspects of it. Trust me, there is huge growth potential in the products and services you are already offering. Always look for areas of weakness and focus on strengthening those before you jump into something completely new.
5. Focus on client retention
In relation to maximizing your current offerings, it’s also crucial to maximize your current clients. Maintenance agreements are a great way to help retain clients, but what reasons are you giving them to stay with your company? Do you make them feel special?
From the time a CSR makes contact, they should know that you are grateful to have them as a client. I always encourage salespeople to literally tell a client that they are grateful for their business. Sending a small gift or card for certain occasions also works wonders. It really is the small things that can give your company the edge. Keep this in mind as you plan for expansion because sustainable growth requires a solid foundation to build upon, and your current clients are that foundation.
6. Educate yourself and your leadership
As you plan to build upon your current foundation, remember that you can’t expect your company to grow if you aren’t growing personally. It’s important to be around “big thinkers” and have progressive conversations with peers and mentors. I attended an event a couple months ago where some of the speakers were talking about extracting fuel from asteroids. That doesn’t appear to impact my life at the moment, except for the fact that it makes me think about what’s possible in my businesses, which does have a massive impact.
Attending industry events, joining forward-thinking groups, and befriending people who inspire you to succeed will have a huge impact on the growth of your business. Unless you actually make an effort to learn what’s possible, you will never know. The information you need doesn’t just fall into your lap. You need to seek it out, learn from other people, and put yourself out there.
Best of luck to you in the new year — I hope you experience tremendous growth and maximize every opportunity possible. Now get back to your holiday treats, but only for a minute, because you need to start implementing!
This article was originally titled “Drive sustainable growth” in the December 2016 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.