My sweet mom randomly gave me a gift the other day. It was a survival poncho (you read that right). She saw them on a Facebook add (sucker! haha), and thought of how adventurous I am and apparently worry-bought me a survival poncho. She even bought my fiancé and dog one as well! She’s the cutest.
The poncho is sitting on my table and will eventually make it to my car, but I thought to myself how nice it would be if there were survival ponchos for other aspects in life. Not a fix-all magic poncho that requires no effort or hard work, but a poncho that would provide me with what I needed to just survive things until I can get over the hump.
Here is my attempt at providing you a survival poncho (or more like a kit) for when growing your business.
Swiss army knife of people: Hiring, Partnership, and Collaboration
- There is a temptation to do everything yourself when funds are low, or time is scarce, and ambitions are high. But taking on more than you can handle or taking the lead in areas that you lack significant experience can be damaging or costly. You do yourself and your business a favor when you hire a team, partner with outsourced resources, or collaborate with trusted advisors. The trick is knowing what you need and how to ask for it.
A fire-retardant blanket: Maintain flexible and adaptive leadership
- As a company grows, the needs of the business and the people change and evolve. Even the best laid plans usually produce a fire or two. As these occur the leaders of an organization need to evolve right along with the changes, and help to move past the fires. This requires a fair amount of patience, introspection, and a willingness to teach and motivate others. The leaders will be the people who inspire the rest of the team to maintain a sight on their purpose and remain engaged in the long-term strategy (rather than the seemingly urgent fire up ahead).
A flashlight and batteries: Shine a light on your revenue strategy
- Analyze your current pricing and service structure and strategize how you will increase revenue in the next year. Will you be serving more customers? Will you raise your prices? Will you structure your service to occur with greater frequency? Highlight your revenue goals and determine what needs to occur in order to get there. All these options require a greater capacity of your key assets time, people, and money (the batteries).
Food & Water: Customer retention
- Reducing customer defection rates increases profitability substantially, because acquiring new customers can cost an organization around five times more than retaining their current ones.* As a service-based business all of your processes and operations lead to a customer experience. “Now” is always the right time to assess your operational efficiency to determine how you can impact your customer experience (they are your lifeline). Increasing customer retention by just 2% can have the same effect as decreasing a company’s costs by 10%.* Do your math – what’s your number? What would that profit turn into for your business?
This is not the fix-all magic survival kit that requires no effort or hard work. But it is the survival kit that will ensure your business achieves the next revenue milestone, or reaches the next business birthday. And that will be worth it.
*(Murphy, E., Murphy, M. (2002) Leading on the Edge of Chaos).