The Entrepreneur: How to successfully grow your business
Peter Turner, co-founder of the Entrepreneurs' Club London shares his insights into how to grow your business successfully.
Through working with so many successful businesses, we have developed partnerships with people who can help businesses succeed. Because of this and our own entrepreneurial backgrounds, we have decided to provide this section including tips, tools, stories and useful pieces of advice to help you successfully grow your business.
I run a successful entrepreneurs' club and one of our recent guest speakers grew a company from $0m to $300m (USD) in 3 years, organically – he was outstanding and this was his approach:
- Have the right vision and make sure it is big.
- Employ the right people in the right roles and reward them appropriately.
- Make sure your processes are in place, they accelerate decision making and therefore performance
- Be transparent with your staff on performance expectations.
The most successful businesses are focused. They know where they are going, and how they are going to get there. Many people ask about "what are we doing and why?", but the most successful businesses focus on how they are going to do it and when.
The reason I want to talk about focus, is because I see so many businesses that are frustratingly slowing themselves down and constraining growth. They are unaware of where they are going and they are largely unfocused. As a result they lack the necessary tools to grow, tools which in today's flexible workforce environment are readily available at a relatively low cost.
The more clarity your business has on where it aspires to be, the more focused it can become. You will be able to develop a better business plan, and understand your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). In addition to this, your staff will understand and know where you want them to focus (especially if you avoid wasting time discussing non-related items), organisational effectiveness will improve, and job roles for people become clear. Ultimately, this makes leadership and staff management easier. Your staff are more likely to reach the end destination when they are given accurate instructions, are pointed in the right direction, have appropriate reward in sight and when there is no ambiguity surrounding your expectations of them.
The entrepreneurs behind Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and, Facebook all had huge visions and a purposeful clarity about where they wanted to go. There are so many examples of SME's who have followed this successful template in the UK, albeit on a smaller scale.
Your company will start saving money as soon as your budgetary deployment becomes focused on more strategic and targetted spend.
It also becomes much easier to brand and market your business and consequently your referrals from partners will increase because they are now aware of exactly what you do and for whom.
How do you become more focused on your business?
Look at the executive team – these people drive the business, do they have the necessary skills? Are there clear job roles? Do they work together? – If you are unsure, do not be afraid to get a team personality test. Personally, such tests and a focused approach have paid huge dividends for me and have in the past helped me to take a company from £4.5m to £8m turnover in just 6 months.
Also, identify the KPIs you need to monitor to drive your business. I have previously grown a business by 200% in 12 months by identifying the key performance indicators we needed to monitor the business.
Start with sales and use this to drive the rest of the business. Generally, when I am looking to grow a business exponentially, it has to start with sales. After that, I look for anything that is impeding or even potentially stopping sales, and begin to address any issues that arise. Next month, I will explore this here in more detail as I am going to dedicate my next article to increasing profitable sales.
After you have reviewed sales, look at marketing, finance, operations, services and all the other parts of your business in unison. Identify the issues, list them and prioritise.
It is also beneficial to make sure you have good systems; there are a host of cloud based systems in the market that are well priced.
Finally, it is not worth over complicating things, the best businesses are reasonably simple and do not shy away from external help where and when needed. I have so many contacts that could make a fundamental difference to your business and I am more than happy to connect people where I can.
A few business pointers:
- Know your target market and focus in on it.
- Make sure you invest in your sales force; 98% of companies in the UK have a poor sales focus and tolerate it. With today's workforce environment, it is not that difficult to shape an outstanding sales team in your business.
- Can you claim R&D tax credits? This is finance from the Government – if your accountant has said that you cannot, get someone else to review it. I have seen several cases where accountants have failed to identify that a claim could be made.
- There are so many people out there wanting to offer free advice, all you have to do is ask for it! However, it is important to make sure they have a verifiable track-record of success.
- Business owners have to make hard decisions – do not be afraid to do so. From my experience, the downside is never as bad as what you originally feared.
The above should prompt questions, please feel free to email any queries you have about this to firstname.lastname@example.org.