Do you find yourself always searching for the easiest way or easiest path?
Of course you do, we all do it. Although, this can be damaging to your business.
There are a lot of resources available that claim their process is the easiest, or that their solution is the best and easiest to implement. Believe me, I know some things are easy but be careful with wanting everything to be easy. So, what am I referring to when I say EASY, then? Do you remember those Office Depot commercials with the big red easy button? You know the one I am talking about — it appears out of nowhere and you push it and everything you need appears. Wow! What a concept, I only wish it were true for everyone when growing a business.
This article is part of Effició’s executive series. In this blog series, we share the resources, tools, advice, and infrastructure changes you need to assess, invest, and shift your business.
I run into a lot of entrepreneurs who get frustrated because they are drained, mentally tired, and wondering when the light in the dark tunnel will shine. “Why is this so hard,” they say. Believe me, I wonder that sometimes myself. Most of the time, it is only hard because we make it hard. The challenge comes when we want others to provide the easy button for us instead of creating our own beautiful red button by working smart – not hard.
Building and growing a business is not easy, but some of the activities we do to reach our vision can be easy. Here are some quick tips to create your own shiny red easy button without falling prey to the easy trap:
Identify your comfort zone and get out of it!
An easy trap to fall into is to get caught up in your own world to the point where you are spinning like a hamster in a cage. You have to be open and most importantly global. If you are not growing or generating the cash flow you need then you must begin to do something different. Basically, you are caught up in your own comfort zone (which is easy to do) and you never really get a true picture of your business as a whole. Try this: stand or sit in the middle of your office with a blank piece of paper and a pen. Write down all the things that are not working in your business and why. Next, take a look at this list and determine what needs to change immediately. You will probably realize that the first thing that needs to change is you. Don’t get upset – get to changin’!
Welcome good ole criticism.
Another easy trap to fall into is to avoid and shake off other people’s opinions and feedback of you and your business – good ole criticism. Most business owners feel warm and fuzzy toward their target market, as long as their target market toes’ the line by continuing to say nice things, buying their products, and never complaining. The minute the critics, what we call them when they are not nice, say anything negative, we freak out or our feelings get hurt – huge mistake! The more you welcome, even invite and celebrate, criticism, the stronger your bond with your target market.
Diversify your business.
A third easy trap to get mixed up in is to only do one thing for the life of your business. You must diversify. Diversifying is an excellent growth strategy because it allows you to have multiple streams of income and allows you to increase profitability. Here are some examples of diversification: sell complementary products or services; teach small business courses at a local community college, instead of speaking for free, get paid for it; market and sell informational products on and offline. The list can go on and on and on – diversify.
Get efficient through technology.
The integration easy trap is creating processes in your business without integrating technology. Technology helps you get more done and get it done easier, quicker, and better. Most of the time, by integrating technology into your business processes, you are able to do most things that you could not do without it.
Look at this way: if you coach a football team, you need to have a good defense and a good offense to win championships. If you concentrate too much on one at the expense of the other, you will lose because you need both to win. So stop creating processes that create mostly manual activities. Remember, to achieve business alignment, (which fosters growth) you have to align technology with business processes, and often, technology is the only way to successfully integrate, align and grow all at the same time.
Create a business culture.
A fifth easy trap to fall into is not developing the customer and team experience within your business. When you think of growth strategies, you imagine immediate and tangible results. But there are some growth strategies, like creating a culture, that has more impactful results that make your business more dynamic, more productive, and more profitable consistently over time instead of quick hits here and there.
In a small business, culture is “the foundation of why you are in business and the framework for how you do business.” A business culture consists of five elements that are “practiced and passed on to the business team,” vision, purpose, philosophy, priorities, and mission. You may have heard of all five or just a few of the above. The question is, have you defined each one for your business cultures, and do you practice them with planning, follow-through, and action?
Make your sales efforts a priority.
The easy trap is…that this seems obvious, but most of the time you get caught up in other non-sales activities that do not position you for growth. Over time, this can become a rhythm that you get stuck in. If this sounds familiar to you, it is time to change your activities.
Quick tips to make your sales a priority: (1) set aside 30 minutes each day for only selling, (2) make new prospect connections at least three times per week, (3) get in selling mode by knowing your solutions inside and out, (4) play the numbers game: know how many connections it takes to get a sale or an appointment, (5) if you sell online, know the cost per customer click and (6) set sales goals daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. By no means is this the end of the list, but it should give you some insight as to how much of a priority your sales efforts should be.
If you follow some of the tips above, you have a great start to creating your own easy button.
p.s. Share your thoughts in the comments below…