At times do you feel out of control and caught up in the daily grind of your business? Do you feel like you must just keep working as you are because you don’t have time to change and develop business growth? Are you concerned about cashflow? Or are there simply not enough hours in the day for you to get everything done?  

Your business exists to serve you…not the other way round. However, the chances are, as a business owner, you feel like a slave to your business.  

You are the expert at what you do and how you do deliver your products or services, but this doesn’t always mean you are an expert at other business-related aspects… and that’s okay! Its impossible to be everything in your business and still operate a profitable and efficient business.  

However, it is important to know who you can go to for support and what simple steps you can take today to start growing your business.  

If you’re looking for support its worth checking to see if your accountant offers business coaching along with other business growth services. Keeping business consultancy within the same space as the management of your finances makes good business sense. 

From helping you understand your numbers to supporting you develop a robust growth orientated business plan, a good business consultant will help you run and grow your business in a structured way. They will support you in stepping back from the business and holding you accountable for the actions you’ve said you will complete.  

So, when you decided on the right business support you can start working though the 7 ways to grow your business with your consultant or coach: 

1.Increase customer retention rate 

It costs you far less to increase your sales to existing customers and its also six times easier and cheaper to sell to your existing customers than it is to sell to new customers…. So always start with how you can retain and grow your existing customer base.  

What are you doing to delight your customers and make them want to return to you? Do you know what it is your customers want? What is your current communication strategy with your customers? 

A good way to understand your recipe for success is to follow the FGG principle.  

F – Find out what your customers want. 
G – Go and get it. 
G – Give it to them! 

Support this method with a mix of customer retention values:  

  • Loyalty Programmes  
  • Survey Customers  
  • Follow up with customers post sale  
  • Host social events  

2.Generate more leads 

The second way to develop business growth is to generate more leads. Start with understanding the difference between a suspect, lead, prospect, customer, loyal customer, and an advocate.  

The easiest way to understand this is by looking at the marketing funnel:  

The_BAS_Associates_Marketing_Funnel

The Marketing Funnel begins with someone who is in your target market but hasn’t responded to any marketing. When that person responds to marketing or makes an enquiry, they become a lead.  

It’s vital to follow your leads up and give them an opportunity to buy, moving them from being leads to being prospects. At this point, we move from the lead generation phase to the sales phase, and our prospects become our likely customers. 

After a single purchase, they become our customers, and after repeated purchases they become our loyal customers. Finally, we want to get our loyal customers to become raving advocates who tell everyone about their experience with us and generate referrals.  

So, how do you manage your leads? Do you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system? Is it up to date? How do you ensure leads are followed up? Who is your target market? Where are they?  

You will need to know this information in order to tailor your marketing to the right people. Tailored marketing will protect your investments in your marketing promotions and increasing your return on investment (ROI).  

Lead generation strategies:  

  • Attending events  
  • Networking  
  • Newsletters  
  • Strategic alliances 
  • Website 
  • Social Media 
  • Blogs  
  • Open days 

3.Increase conversion rates 

The third way to develop business growth is to increase your conversion rate.  

Are you measuring your success at converting leads, quotes and proposals to sales? Do you regularly review why you aren’t converting more quotes?  

Your conversion rate might be sales made as a percentage of proposals delivered or sales meetings held. A basic formula for working out your conversion rate is:  

Number of customers / Number of leads = Conversion Rate (%)  

If you are currently using a pipeline system or CRM system and you have different leads at different stages, you may want to analyse the stage-to-stage conversion:  

Number of leads in stage “A” / Number of leads in stage “B” = Conversion Rate (%) 

Your conversion rate is a powerful metric to measure and way in which you can grow your business. If you know your conversion rate, then you can work out how many leads you need to make sure you hit your business growth targets.  

So, if you’re not measuring your conversion rate, you need to start right now. 

Conversion strategies:  

  • Use a follow up system to ensure all leads and quotes are contacted, feedback is sought, and changes are made.  
  • Offer guarantees.  
  • Invest in sales training.  
  • Proposals with options (give prospects the choice of which yes, they want to pick). 

4.Increase Transaction Frequency  

Simply put this is about getting your customers to buy from you more frequently.  

To understand why this is such a valuable way to grow you can quickly do another piece of simple maths…  

(Number of Customers / Number of invoices raised) x 100 = Transaction Frequency (%)  

From this you can work out how much growth can come from transaction frequency. Even just getting customers that purchase from you once a year to purchase from you twice a year will make a huge difference!  

It is important for you to make it as easy and as valuable as possible for the customer to do business with you. This coupled with a great customer experience will help ensure repeat business using one of the strategies below, is successful.  

Transaction frequency strategies:  

  • Newsletters  
  • Special offers  
  • Loyalty events - social / no obligations environment  
  • BAMFAM (Book A Meeting From A Meeting)  
  • Reminders  
  • Introducing VIP / membership cards   

5.Increase transaction value 

So now we have a steady stream of leads coming in, high conversion rates, increased frequency of purchases its now time to maximise every opportunity by increasing the transaction value.  

So, there is more to increasing transaction value than “just” increasing your prices… although that is an option that could be considered.  

Ask yourself (or even better ask your customers!): How can you add more value to your customers? Do you give them a range of options? Do you make it clear what products/ services are complementary? Do you recommend additional products or services based on their selection?  

Whilst I have said ask your customers don’t always assume they know what they want. Take feedback as an opportunity to grow and develop not as guidelines to follow. A great quote:  

“If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses” Henry Ford. 

Transaction value strategies:

  • Product or Service Bundles. 
  • Discounts for add-on sales.  
  • Increasing prices (small changes where appropriate).  
  • Upselling to associated or linked products and/or services.  
  • Proposals with options (the choice of yeses). 
  • Stop offering discounts unless the customer has purchased an add-on. 

6.Reduce costs 

Every business wants to increase profits. Whilst most small business owners believe the most effective way to increase profits it to increase sales. However, the reality is that you can increase your profit without increasing sales but by reducing your variable costs.  

Variable costs are the costs which are directly related to business activity and usually increase as sales increase. Of course, some of these are unavoidable but in order to reduce the right costs whilst ensuring the business isn’t adversely affected it is important to look at and review your business as a whole. This will help develop business growth  

Variable cost reduction strategies:  

  • Negotiating supplier terms 
  • Improved debt management processes 
  • Early payment discount 
  • Reduce re-work / time or supplies wastage 
  • System Improvements  

7.Reduce overheads  

 The final way to develop business growth is to reduce your overheads. These are your fixed costs e.g., phone, power, and interest etc. 

Your overheads should be reviewed and cleansed on an annual basis. The best way to do this is to review your annual statements or reports on your software, such as Xero or QuickBooks.  

It is important to make sure costs are only reduced where the long-term impact won’t be negative.  

For example, your accountant or business coach should be considered as a strategic partner and not a cost that needs to be cut. As an accountant, our goal is to save our clients more in tax or grow their business more than any extra they may pay in accounting fees. 

So, take your time to complete this review properly and consider asking a member of staff or individual outside of the business for their opinion.  

Overhead reduction strategies:  

  • List all annual payments or subscriptions with renew dates so they can be proactively managed (e.g., industry subscriptions, software costs and user licenses)  
  • Review supplier contracts and associated costs to reduce costs or as a minimum negotiate better terms (e.g., phone contracts, electricity rates, bank interest) 
  • Review all business services costs ensuring they still reflect business needs and renegotiate contracts as required (e.g., IT maintenance) 

So, now you know the 7 ways to grow your business… what next? 

If you are confident that you can take these principles and put them into action then make a plan, outline your goals, measure progress and ensure you stay on track with regular reviews. It may take 12 months before you start to see some real changes to your profitability so keep up the momentum!  

If you would like some support with growing your business, let us help.  

Our business planning service is the best place to start. During a session we will give you:  

  • Absolute clarity about what you want from your business this year - putting you back in control  
  • Clearly articulated SMART goals for the year and next 90 days to make sure you overcome vulnerabilities and challenges in your business 
  • Prioritised actions to get you what you want 
  • Improved confidence and motivation 

Quarterly Coaching will give you: 

  • Tight accountability to make sure you stay on track to your plan 
  • The opportunity to keep your plan alive - no hiding it in the bottom drawer! 
  • Ultimately, it will allow you to take back the control of your business 

At our 1-hour complimentary meeting  we will: 

  • Identify your business goals 
  • Identify your personal goals 
  • Identify the problems and challenges that are getting in the way of the achievement of your goals 
  • Determine a process to work together to overcome the problems and challenges and achieve those goals 
  • Remember that definition of insanity?  It’s really important to do things differently if you really want to make a difference in your business this year!