Grow your business this year

Episode 102: The Most Impactful Things You Can Do to Grow Your Business This Year

Most business owners want to grow their businesses, and we’re willing to bet you’re no exception. But how? What do you do? Do you need to do a bunch of fanciful things?

No, you don’t.

In this episode, we’re going to be brutally honest about the things that have the most impact on growth.

Growth, scale, and all of that seem to be the focus of most business owners. And that relentless pursuit of growth actually can cause some serious problems as we want it SO badly that we do things that force it. We literally do a bunch of things that aren’t strategic — or even useful — in pursuit of growth.

So, if growth is the goal, what DO we need to do to make it a reality?

Here are some of the specific strategies that have worked for us and our clients:

#1. Tunnel Vision

  • Growth is a lot simpler than most internet marketers would have you believe.
  • It’s not about doing more and adding more and creating all this fluffy filler marketing work to get the thing going.
  • When you run a business as a freelancer, creative, or consultant, your business should be quite simple.
  • It’s about finding, booking, and wowing clients — everything else is a bonus. Yet all those “everything elses” tend to take up a disproportionate amount of time for the results they deliver.
  • In our always on, always connected online world, tunnel vision is hard to carry out, so you need to cultivate practices that make it possible.
  • Some of our fave tunnel vision practices:
    • Clean up your inbox.
    • Kill your newsfeed.
    • Hide ads.
    • Unfollow anyone on IG that irks you.
    • Curate what you consume so you can keep your focus and not be tempted by shiny objects.

#2. Have an Actual Vision

  • When you work with clients, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in their vision and to lose sight of your own.
  • Vision is hard for most of us as we’re just not sure OR we’re afraid of it.
  • Where to start? Ideally, work on a six-month vision and then a two-year vision. Most of us resist this as it’s easier to do the day-to-day and just go with what happens.
  • If you’ve ever saved money, you know exactly how having a vision makes saying no to other things much simpler. Your vision — when clear — is your north star, so you make better decisions and stay on track.
  • Questions to ask for your vision:
    • What do you want to do more of? Less of? Stop doing?
    • Who do you work with?
    • How do you spend your days?
    • How much money are you making?
    • What would success look like then?

#3. Go for the Incremental Improvements

  • Being patient in business is HARD. Many times, we’re not willing to be patient enough for the results to come; we’re wanting to double or triple or whatever in an unrealistic time frame.
  • Don’t get discouraged and change course! Instead of looking for the dramatic transformation, look for the incremental improvement.
  • Small, nearly imperceptible improvement over time adds up. It feels insignificant, but when you stick with it, things snowball, and the smallest wins compound over time.
  • For example, you raise your prices by $10/hour. That may seem minor, but if you work 100 hours/month, that’s $1000 extra, which over the course of a year, is an extra $12k. Proof positive of how a small change adds up over time.
  • We focus on the incremental improvement in our business at this stage of the game — from our revenue to our downloads for this podcast. It’s an act of not only patience but persistence.
  • Most things are a long-term play, so quitting too early or looking for big returns too soon is to our detriment, and we’re giving up on potential growth over the course of 365 days.

#4. Get Your Numbers Handled

  • To grow your business, you need to know where you’re starting from and what the current state of affairs is.
  • If you don’t take the time to know these numbers, then you’re not going to have a way to measure these improvements.
  • If you have been avoiding your numbers for a while, set aside 60 minutes in the next week to dig in. Start with the current month, and get yourself sorted. Figure out what is coming into the business, what is going out, and what is left over.
  • Take the personal emotion out of it. They are just facts. So if the facts aren’t so hot, figure out what you need to do to make them work out in your favor:
    • Do you need to bring in more revenue?
    • Can you cut expenses?
    • Can you optimize where money is going? (Hint: this is probably you if you’re bringing in decent money but don’t seem to keep much of it yourself.)
  • Get in the habit of tracking these numbers every week. It will take less than 15 minutes a week once you get the foundation set. Ignorance is NOT bliss. Pick the metrics that you want to track such as revenue, expenses, and profit/loss.

Actions for your next money date:

  • Review your revenue for the last 30-90 days.
  • Do an expense review over the last 90 days.
  • Figure out your profit or loss — how much is left over (or not) at the end of the month.
  • Set up a spreadsheet or other way to track these numbers on a weekly basis and set aside this time on your calendar.

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