It is said that you’re either growing or dying, and nothing could be truer when it comes to your business.
Here are some techniques used by some of the most successful business heads I’ve come to know:
1. Lean Operations. My brother is a Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. He has analyzed companies down to the number of sheets of paper per use, per printer, per day. (Yes, ‘lean’ is a science, not just an adjective!) However, “lean operations” also means confronting the tough questions and making some harsh decisions. Who or what in your organization is not giving a healthy return on investment?
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In modern business, everyone Googles something, especially businesses. What is the digital profile of your company? What is your Internet presence? If your ranking is high naturally, that’s great. But a good investment is to hire someone who specializes in SEO so that it can be done in the best possible way.
3. Remember the customer. If you’re a small business, one of your main advantages is that you are able to enjoy a more personal approach with the customer. Ensuring that you understand your customer’s habits, needs and wants when it comes to the service level of your operation is of paramount importance. Ensure your people are on the same level of understanding when it comes to this fundamental of operations.
4. Look for growth opportunities. When you make large capital investments with large depreciation costs, what long-term value is created? Hardly any at all, right? Always consider the free cash flow in your company when considering business decisions, so that you have a different perspective and may be able to focus on a more profitable way forward.
5. Invest smartly. While something may look good from a personal point of view, the reason people like Warren Buffet are so financially successful is because they take off the ‘me’ hat and always wear the ‘company’ hat when considering potential investments. Be aware of what’s around you. Simply because you have retained earnings doesn’t automatically mean that you re-invest into the business – or, you may do just that. But before you do, ensure that you take into consideration that there are external assets which are non-operational subsidiaries as well. Do the math.
From time to time, all businesses face challenges. How do you differentiate your rate of growth? When you look at the five options above, as well as ensuring that you don’t spread the operations too thinly, these are strategies that will surely help.
Simple is always good; and customization, even better. In this way, your retained earnings can surely increase; and how you invest those is what will perhaps be even more challenging than growing your business – but that’s a great challenge to end up with, isn’t it?