They say making money is easy, but the challenge is in keeping your money and making it work harder for you. The original version of this article grew from an 800-word article to a mini e-book.
The original article was, “Ten Ways to Create Exponential Business Growth,” but to make this article more digestible, six of the ten were removed. If you find this article useful and would like the full list of the ten ways, do contact Ben on LinkedIn.
So, let’s give you insights into four essential strategies you must use to increase your business growth.
- Systemise and Automate for Business Growth
- Bottleneck Death for Business Growth
- Team Up for Business Growth
- Cash Flow for Growth
1. Systemise and Automate for Business Growth
In the business coaching world, you are often told to work on your business not in your business. This advice is only half of one side of a coin. The other side of the coin is that you need to work in your business to effectively work on your business.
Working in your business is like being a doctor. It allows you to spot all the challenges and aspects of the business that prevents growth.
- Do the little things such as cleaning, picking up the rubbish and making the tea. Once you understand why and how the little things that happen and impact your business, you can effectively systemise your business through automation, schedule tasks for contractors and staff and educate your team and customers to get the most out of your business.
- During the 2020 pandemic, many of my real estate rental properties were empty. I decided to stay in them, repairing and understanding how the modern tenants’ lives.
Fixing and repairing the properties enabled me to work on my real estate rental business to systemise and create a more efficient system than the traditional fully managed letting scenario which often caused more problems when the letting agents had terrible or in-experienced maintenance managers.
As a result, I was able to remove many of the challenges the tenants faced and created a stronger automated management system and team to free up my time to work on other businesses.
Working in the business enables you to systemise and find the bottlenecks. Bottlenecks that slowdown and like a weed can potentially strangle your business.
2. Bottleneck Death for Business Growth
There are many types of bottlenecks that can and will strangle the growth of your business.
In tip one, we shared the importance of working in your business to identify and automate it as much as possible. Many bottlenecks occur due to a lack of automation, but others also occur due to bottlenecks in mindset, lack of a team or having the wrong team.
Automation bottlenecks occur when your business is run without any computer-based systems. For example, constantly hand-writing invoices, and quotes and making copies in case of a disaster. An automated system would automatically add and total your quotes to the exact customer, transform the quote into an invoice when the job is complete, and chase the customer for payment should the payment not arrive within the agreed time frame.
Mindset bottlenecks are to do with beliefs, confidence, trust, and many others. Business owners fail to grow their business due to various reasons including a belief that money is bad or a lack of confidence in themselves when representing their business.
Their beliefs can include thoughts like:
“Why would anyone connect to me?”
“There are better people out there”
“They deserve it more”
And so on.
Education is a huge part of business growth but so many business people get the wrong education from so-called business coaches who have never actually run a business and message their branding to appear bigger than they are. Wrong business coaching tends to be vague and provides good information but for the wrong situation and context.
Ego is a massive problem in business growth. Ego problems occur when people think they are better than others or worse than others. An ego can also cause long term relationship problems because people come across as arrogant, deliberately scam others or alternatively feel they are not good enough and so fail to execute on a solution.
A lack of a team or having the wrong team impacts business growth. I made my first fortune on my own. It was long and hard, and I never had time for anything but work. Since then all the businesses were grown in conjunction with good people around me supporting and encouraging one another. Unfortunately, the team can be negatively impacted and prevent growth by having the wrong people.
Several businesses suffered massive financial challenges due to directors covertly using the business income to fund their lifestyles. There is nothing wrong with a lifestyle business, but the directors need to be aware of and support this behaviour to ensure sufficient cash flow for the business to grow.
3. Team Up for Business Growth
Building a team is one of the best ways to scale and grow your business. A team allows you to free up your time and to focus on what you do best. A team is never perfect, and it consists of people with quite different perspectives, personalities and skill sets.
Building an effective team is much harder than acquiring finance and can initially slow you down with recruitment and training. However, once the right people are in place, it is much easier for you to grow exponentially, quickly take advantage of opportunities, implement new ideas and launch new products at lightning speed.
Here are a few tips for finding and building your team.
1. Let go of doing everything your way and to your standard. No-one will ever be as good as you – at least not for the first 6 to 12 months.
A decade ago, a friend asked me to run and grow his company. During that time, I had to educate, encourage, cajole, and use many other strategies to get him to let go of doing the accounts, sales, procurement, new product development and customer liaison.
It was a massive struggle for him to let go because no-one knew the business and the software as he did. He could get better discounts and he was much better at socialisation and negotiation. The accounts software was one that he had personally written.
Today, he is completely hands-off. He has an amazing managing director who has grown his own effective team and got rid of the people who were a hindrance on the company. He got so bored with the amount of free time he now has, that in addition to his hobbies, he set up five new businesses.
Could the new staff get the best prices or sell as well as he could? No, not then, but they got better.
2. One myth is that you must pay your team a salary. This could not be further from the truth. In many of the businesses I’ve run, we’ve had amazing teams who were not employees of the business. Here are a few strategies that you can use to help you build your own team:
- Create a team with equity in the business.
- Find people who work on results only.
- Get good interns. We have had some of the most productive interns who later went on to become employees and later managers within our companies.
- Have a team of committed contractors. In the media and educational businesses, we often won large contracts that had to be delivered within insane timescales.
To deliver on time, in budget and with excellent quality, we have a pool of exceptional contractors that we would use from time to time. In several magazines, I used to be the chief, but we had exceptional writers who had their own columns, who we paid on a per article basis.
3. Massive business growth has also come through external team-ups. These external team-ups are created through collaboration with companies who have complementary products to your own and have an advisory board. The list goes on. The essential aspect you should learn from this section is that teams are essential for your business growth.
4. Cash Flow for Growth
Knowing your financials at any moment daily/weekly/monthly/yearly is key for exponential growth. It enables you to accurately predict how much finance you will have for investment and protect against potential disasters. Business owners who can protect, invest, and accurately predict their cash flow can quickly execute on opportunities that will be good for the business and decline opportunities that will drain the business.
Here are several tips to help you increase your cash flow:
- Remove all unnecessary expenditure. The money saved will increase your investment finance.
- Remove people who do not add value to your business with constant excuses, senseless politicking, and lack of customer focus.
- Not only do you save money, but the general morale of the rest of your company will increase and your stress levels will decrease.
Create pots of money once all expenses are paid.
- Money for charitable causes.
- Money for potential business disasters.
- Money for morale boosters.
- Money for automation and outsourcing.
- Money for further investment.
- Money for education and on-going development for you and your team
Ben Chai is a business entrepreneur, business consultant, performer and media personality. He has built and sold his own multi-million businesses in software, tech, hospitality, real estate, cyber-security, media, education and training. Millions around the world have benefited from his performances on TV, radio, stage, his books and the insights shared in many podcast interviews as a business educator, dancer, actor and writer.
Much of Ben’s business education has been through hard-won businesses, disasters, betrayals, and an ability to use every win, every disaster and every betrayal to build strategies that power him and the people around him to the next level.
Ben has a degree in mathematics and computer science, a diploma in marketing, a diploma in journalism and was one of the first technical people to achieve both the Microsoft and Novell engineer qualifications.