Get focused. Stop doing things that waste time or don’t bring in new business. FOCUS! Trying to do all and make everyone happy gets in the way of growth. Go through your week and identify activities you can say NO to and those you can delegate. Get those items off your plate right away. Then go back through and highlight the most important work you have to do. Block out time to DO that work. Focusing on work that moves the business forward will create forward momentum more quickly than trying to do it all.
- Narrow your lane. Get laser-focused. Take time and write down what you do best and for who. Keep narrowing your focus until it is crystal clear.
- Say ‘no’. Say it often and without justifying or rationalizing it. A friend of mine told me years ago that ‘no’ is a complete sentence. She asked me to consider just saying it without going into a long explanation of why. Sometimes an explanation is needed, other times the answer can simply be no.
- Block out time every day for the important work. I find it works best if I schedule if first thing – before I turn on my email.
- Hire help. Delegate the tasks you’re not good at and those not the best use of your time. In the long run the business will be more profitable if you stop doing the activities you can easily hire others to do.
- Ask others to help you see through the clutter. We’re often too close to our work to see what we need to let go of.
- Stop feeling guilty about not be doing the same work as your employees. Or that they don’t think you’re working because you’re no longer in the trenches. This guilt often keeps owners doing work that’s not the best use of their time.
Do one revenue generator every day. Businesses grow when business development to potential customers is a consistent priority. Too often we get so busy in the daily minutia that we don’t focus on building our pipeline. We get caught up working ‘in’ the business vs. working ‘on’. Other times we have outdated or ineffective business development strategies in place. To make revenue generation a daily habit put it in your calendar or hang a sticky note on your computer. Make yourself do 1 thing every day. Developing a pipeline and consistently following up with those potential clients will set you ahead of your competition.
- Pick up the phone. Call a potential client, a champion of your work or someone who’s well connected in your target market. Don’t sell during this phone call – just connect. The initial connection starts the process. It allows you to find out if they’re a good fit for you or if they know someone who is.
- Write a handwritten note. People love getting mail. Find unique ways and reasons to send a note.
- Send a kudos email. When you see people doing good work – let them know. Acknowledge them with an email, a note or a shout out on social.
- Create a top ‘100’ list. This is a list of people or businesses you would love to work with and are a perfect fit for your product or service. Once you have the list written commit to contacting each person on the list three times over the next year.
- Go back through your emails and identify people you have connected with in the past and reconnect.
Reach out to your current + past customers. It always amazes me, when I reach out to my customers and past customers, my business grows. Sometimes connecting with them leads to them hiring me for more services other times it leads to them referring me to someone they know. Engaging with current customers outside the times we see them is key because it lets them know they are special. Engaging with past customers is beneficial because it puts us back on their radar. Past clients hired you once and chances are if they were happy, they may hire you again.
- Make these contacts about the relationship, about them– not about selling. If you stay close to clients and past clients, you’ll know when the time to ask for the sale is.
- Look for newsworthy items. For example, if one of you clients or past clients is in the news, send them a congrats. If you see something that pertains to their industry send it to them.
- Call just to say hello. Have no agenda other than to connect or reconnect.
- Send a card or note just because. Or send a card on one of the ‘off’ holidays like New Year’s or 4th of July.
- Be on the lookout for ways to make them feel special. People do business with people who make them feel good!
Rework your key messaging. Get excited about your messaging once again. Too many times we don’t grow because we don’t know what to say when people ask us what we do. I had a client this fall ask if she could hire me for three years after only two sessions. The reason she was so excited was because we did a quick revamp of her elevator pitch and for the first time in 20 years she was comfortable answering that question without the vanilla answer just giving her title.
- Do a quick poll. Ask your best clients what they would tell others about you if asked. The phrases our clients use are often the ones we should be using.
- Write out the answer to, what do you do? There are so many resources online to help you write a more powerful elevator pitch. Go beyond vanilla – identify the stories that make you truly unique, the ones people will connect with. The goal of the elevator pitch is connection.
- Ask someone to sit down with you and walk through what’s interesting about your business. What story can you tell that engages people vs having them put their wall up or tune you out.
Ask for the sale. One of the best courses I took during my MBA was a negotiation course. During the course of the semester we were tasked with getting as many no’s as we could. This meant I tried to negotiate everywhere I went. I asked for a deal at the furniture store, the local parking garage, the grocery store. My family was embarrassed. They avoided me when I was negotiating. But it worked. I was surprised how hard it was to get a NO. I ended up saving a great deal of money and got pretty good at negotiating. While that’s not how I want to live my life, I’m grateful for the practice. Asking for the sale doesn’t come naturally to all business owners. If closing is not your strength, find a way to get better at it.
- Practice the ask. Role playing isn’t fun – especially when we have to do it with people we know well. But it works. I’ve worked with dozens of clients the last year with their ask. The more they practiced the easier and more natural it became to ask for the sale and stand firm on their fee.
- Watch people who are good at it.
- Listen to podcasts, read books, watch videos. We have so many resources at our disposal. Schedule the time to hone your skills.
- Choose the low hanging fruit in your business and create an opportunity to ask for the sale. Last year I was driving when a great idea came to me. I saw an opportunity I could create with a past client. So, I pulled over on the side of the road and made the call. It worked – I landed the deal and I’m still working with that company over a year later.
- Offer add-ons to your current product or service.
If you want to grow your business the goal is not to implement all these strategies today. Just choose one item and take action today.