Nearly 5 years ago now, after selling my last business, I accidentally fell into being a business mentor. I found myself speaking at business networks, telling my story about how I went from being an advertising copywriter to creating and ultimately selling my own advertising agency… the approach I took, how I planned the sale right from the start, and what I learned about business along this way – with my agency and my subsequent pet care business. Before long people were asking me if I could help them turn their business into a valuable asset and my business mentoring career began.
I get clearer and clearer all the time how best to increase a business owner’s understanding of the fundamentals that will determine whether they build a successful business that feeds them wealth and freedom into the future, or whether they build a hard working job that will stop feeding them income the minute they stop doing it.
Over the next seven blog posts I’m going to share the key pillars to growth I believe can help any business owner, regardless of their industry, get a better understanding of what they need to do to be a smart business person.
The Pillars of Business Growth Strategy
Firstly, in Blog 1 in the series, I’m going to explain what the Pillars of Growth Strategy is … and what it isn’t.
What is it not is a revolutionary new concept that will set the business world on fire. There’s nothing new in here. It’s business 101 really.
What it is, rather, is a hopefully easy to understand summary of the fundamentals of what any business needs to grow. It seems obvious to someone who’s been through the journey of creating a business, but experience now tells me that it is not obvious to most small business owners – it certainly wasn’t to me when I started.
Your product is not enough
I meet business owners all the time. They seek me out and ask me for help on a regular basis. I take on 10 – 15 new small business clients a year and work with them intensely for a 12 month period. What I see so often is that business owners typically focus all their energy into creating and delivering a great product or service, based around something they feel passionate about.
And of course, having a great product or service is important, and forms the first pillar in the Pillars To Growth Strategy.
What many business owners don’t do, or realise they need to do, is focus equal amounts of energy into the several other pillars that ensure your great product or service forms the centre of a great business – one that will ultimately have true value.
If you focus on all six of the pillars with equal enthusiasm, and apply yourself to learning what you need to ensure each is operating at maximum effectiveness, you will build a great business – one that is independent of you.
The 6 Pillars to Business Growth
The six pillars are:
1. Product – what you sell, and the need it meets in the market
2. Business model – Where you are taking this business, how it will make money and how it can scale/grow bigger than you
3. Delivery – how you take your product to market, your distribution channels, operational effectiveness and efficiency and the robustness of the systems that support this
4. Sales & Marketing – how you attract new customers and retain and grow your existing customers
5. Team – the structure of the organisation you need to build and the quality of the people you engage, the way you ensure high performance
6. Financials – how you keep tab on your performance by driving revenues and profits up, and the reporting around this that lets you know how you are going
Most business owners are good at a few of the pillars, where their natural skills and experience fall. For instance I was always good at the sales and marketing and ensuring great product delivery. But I sucked at financials and team building. I learned this the hard way, and had to surround myself with people who knew these areas better than me before my business could really grow.
How about you? Which are you best at and which do you avoid because they are outside your comfort zone?
Look at each of the six pillars and rate your business 1 – 5 for each, with 5 being “Nailed it” and 1 being “Oh dear not really.”
If you accept your business needs to score a 4 – 5 in each pillar to be truly successful, what areas do you need to put more effort into? And what is your plan to achieve this improvement?
Next blog in series
In the next of the 6 Pillars to Business Growth blogs I’m going to take a look at the Product pillar and see what distinctions we can make to make this rock even harder for you.
PS. More more thoughts on how to make your business more valuable, feel free to download this free booklet, based on my interviews with successful entrepreneurs