Where Are the Answers and Who is Asking the Question?
Looking inside or outside for the right growth strategy
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
There's a trick to getting business advice, especially if you are an entrepreneur. The first one is that a company big enough to understand how to be "successful" is likely a company big enough to have forgotten how they got big in the first place.
The founders aren't there anymore and the legends and anecdotes from those start-up days are just that - anecdotes. If we look at all the quotes attributed to many of these men and women, they would have had to talk nearly nonstop for years with someone recording every syllable each day. Just as importantly, these established businesses like to look inward at one individual and the legendary "vision" of a founder. You know the names of the usual suspects - Jobs, Bezos, Gates, Ford.
Now, that isn't to cast doubt or question on the successes that these leaders helmed their businesses through, but it doesn't give us any real answer to how we, as small business owners, can emulate those companies in the development of our own.
The recourse to that, or at least the second part of it, is if we take our questions to the street - where small business is being done by entrepreneurs every single day - the answers we get for how to be successful are all over the place. This guy says Facebook, this lady says to use Infusionsoft, this couple swears on traffic flow past their location. They want to give you answers that look outward at something that drives customers through the door, not how effective the in-house systems are and how they developed them.
When you start to ask questions of small business owners, you realize that all too often, they are looking for an edge outside of the existing business and predicated solely on client acquisition and lead generation.
Client fulfillment? Entrepreneurs and small business owners seem to not want to work on that system. After all, why improve it when you already have proof of concept - you're selling stuff!
Are you ready to double your sales? Triple them? 10X them?
Fix the how fast it takes you to take care of the client and then - and only then - worry about how to get more clients. Make Client Fulfillment systems a priority.
Here's a couple of examples: Let's say you have a website development business and you, like many small businesses, have only a few employees. Right now, it takes your team six weeks from the time the contract is signed until the site goes live. If you are able to shorten that time to three weeks by building client fulfillment systems to make it possible, then you now have twice as much time available to take care of more clients. You've just created the opportunity to double your sales.
Another example from the restaurant business: How long do customers stay in the building? If every seat is filled on Friday night, determining ways to speed the service and thus, seat more guests, allows you to generate more sales with the same costs that you were paying for with a restaurant that wasn't filled. Shorter wait times means that fewer guests leave as a result of a long wait, adding to the sales that can be generated.
In many cases, the answers to the questions of growth for small business is inside, not outside. Buttress operations with systems that can be replicated and refined and understand how vital client fulfillment - and the speed of it - is to your company. This is not about being a brilliant leader, but about being smart leader creating a brilliant system.