There are two types of businesses: tortoises and hares.
Just like the classic fable, the tortoise goes slow and steady, growing incrementally over time. The hare, on the other hand, races ahead, growing at a sprinter’s pace. In the fable, the tortoise wins the race, but that’s definitely not always the case in business!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to grow quickly. In fact, if you don’t power ahead, your growth can stagnate and you can lose that fire most of us have when we’re just starting up a new vemture.
So you want to grow your business fast? Here are X steps to do it.
Enlist a Mentor
None of us have all the answers. That’s why most great businessmen and women have a trusted mentor who’s walked the entrepreneurial road before them.
According to a 2014 survey, 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive more than five years—twice the survival rate of businesses who don’t receive mentoring.
A business mentor can provide guidance when you’re unsure where to steer the ship next, clarity on issues they’ve already dealt with many times before, and encouragement when you need a little pep talk.
If you don’t have a mentor, a business coach is a great option, too. With a business coach, you’ll typically pay for a set number of sessions over several months. You’ll discuss your main goals, biggest challenges, and together map out a plan to get to where you want to be.
Having either a mentor or business coach is critical because it means you’re not just relying on you to motivate yourself—you’ve got someone else rooting for you. Just like a runner thrives on the cheering of the crowd, a second voice cheering you on can keep you on the fast track to growth in your business.
mportant thing a business needs to scale: systems.
A system takes a process involved in running your business and removes you from the equation. When the business doesn’t rely on you to get things done, there’s no ceiling to your growth. But if you have to sign off on every single thing, well, you can see your growth potential is severely limited.
Ideally, you’ll have a system for every aspect of your business.
The important thing to understand is that you are a finite resource. As awesome as you are, at a certain size your business can no longer rely on you to run. You can always hire more workers or buy new machinery or add inventory; you can’t add another one of you.
Therefore, if you want to grow fast starting today, you need to start putting systems in place immediately.
We talk a lot more about systematizing different aspects of your business in this post.
Max Out Your “Bottom Dollars”
Your top dollars are the new prospects coming in the door. Yes, they’re important to grow your business, but you should also have a strategy in place to get the absolute most out of your bottom dollars—your existing customer base.
Companies like Apple have absolutely mastered this, and it’s one of the big reasons for their success. When people buy an Apple product, they often become a fan for life. The company credits existing users for a large portion of its revenue growth, with things like app sales and device upgrades used to keep a steady stream of money coming in without spending more to attract a new buyer.
It feels like we’ve said this a million times, but it bears repeating: it’s far more expensive to win a new customer than to keep an existing one. Thus, if you want to grow quickly in terms of revenue, the fastest way to get there is to max out the lifetime value of every existing customer.
To get there, build processes that promote customer retention, like lead nurturing systems and feedback surveys. Make it easy for existing customers to spend more money with you, like a subscription program that automatically bills and ships a new order every month or a frequent buyer discount.
Only Do What You Have To Do
You’re the captain of this ship (which, if you’re following this guide, should be more like a rocket ship than the ocean variety). It’s your job to seek growth at every turn, spending the majority of your time on strategy rather than day-to-day operations.
This is why so many founders hire a COO or a business manager. They’re a right-hand-man who keeps the operations of the company running smoothly, while the business owner focuses primarily on growth.
Let’s say you have to spend two weeks working on a major client project. That’s great for the client, who probably just got more expertise than they paid for, but guess what? You just lost two weeks that could have been spent finding new revenue streams, networking with new contacts and generally getting more money coming in the door.
It really hits home when you think of it this way: every hour you’re not spending on strategy is potential profit lost losing for your company.
If you can pay someone to do something better, faster or cheaper than you, buckle down and do it!
Make a Plan
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It's one of my favorite sayings!
History’s great accomplishments, like the construction of the Eiffel Tower or the moon landing, didn’t happen by accident. While they probably seemed unimaginable at the time, some enterprising person laid out the steps, got down to business and made them happen.
If you want to grow your business fast, you need a plan to do it.
First, determine where you want to be. Is it 50% growth? 100% growth? Next, pick a time frame.
Then, reverse engineer the steps it’ll take to get there. If you want to grow by 50% 12 months from now, where do you need to be in six months to be on track to reach it? What about three months? Six weeks?
Lay concrete goals with deadlines, incorporating each of the components we’ve outlined in this post. If you don’t hit each and every goal, that’s okay—as long as you regroup and revise the plan to move forward.
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