By Anneli Knight
Creel Price cofounded Blueprint & Custom Call outsourced call centres with Trevor Folsom and over the next ten years with the amazing commitment of their team (over 1,000 employees at it’s peak) they built one of the fastest growing BPO businesses in Australia; Editor
Whilst reputation and public relations (PR) rarely result in immediate leads they are essential for any business wanting to build long-term value and goodwill in their brand. Photo: istock
If your business is not green and growing then it’s ripe and rotting, says serial entrepreneur Creel Price.
Price is accomplished at the growth phase of business, having launched ten enterprises before he was 21 and then co-founding a start-up with $5000 capital and selling it ten years later for more than $100 million.
Striving for growth is something that should underlie all aspects of business, says Price, whose current business, Accelerate Global, trains entrepreneurs.
“It’s got to pervade the DNA of their company,” he says.
Sales become easier for a growing company as it secures a strong reputation, and a growing business is also more enjoyable, Price says.
“Business becomes a lot more fun when you start to get a bigger team all striving towards the one goal – when you start to see the business grow from more than just your efforts.”
Here are Creel Price’s 10 tips on how to grow your business:
- 1. Spend more time in sales – The first strategy is to ensure that the business owner or entrepreneur is spending as much time selling or managing the sales process as possible.
This is particularly important at the early stages of business. No one can match you in terms of knowledge and passion for your business – and this is what sells.
Write down a goal of how much time you should be spending in sales and compare it to how much time you are actually spending selling.
If there is a big discrepancy implement strategies to free up your time and ensure you are focused on sales such as outsourcing everything but your core.
- 2. Be a niche player – Don’t try to be everything to everyone – select a niche market that plays to your strengths and build your products, processes and reputation around being the undisputed leader for this target market.
Yet because this strategy takes time many entrepreneurs lose patience and have a tendency to launch brand new initiatives in new markets – a habit I call the entrepreneur’s curse. This distraction means you spread yourself too thin and don’t achieve anything except a myriad of unfinished ideas.
Business success is about being an expert in one core field for one core target market before expanding products, locations and prospect types. This will help ensure you generate more leads, close more sales and can charge higher prices.
- 3. Launch a lead generation campaign – proactive marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business fast.
Don’t wait for customers to contact you, go out and find them using one of numerous direct marketing campaigns open to you. These might include direct mail, e-marketing, telesales, seminars or person to person sales.
Beware though that it is not all about closing the sale on the first contact – it often takes up to seven contacts before a customer is ready to buy so mix your communication up and ensure you are only selling to the right customers at the right time.
For the rest you need to work out how to build their needs and have your company at the top of their list when they are ready to buy.
- 4. Revamp your unique selling proposition (USP’s) – Competition is increasing at an alarming yet exciting rate. If you don’t constantly revise the benefits for why your customers should choose your company you are in danger of being left behind.
Think of the two or three things that you are great at and elevate these in your selling proposition and marketing material – they will revolve around some of these six attributes, namely your product or service is Faster, Cheaper, Superior, Easier, Scarcer or Greater (defined as bigger or more compact).
By having clearly articulated USP’s you will sell to more customers more often.
- 5. Build your reputation – Whilst reputation and public relations (PR) rarely result in immediate leads they are essential for any business wanting to build long-term value and goodwill in their brand.
A leading reputation is also essential if you want to convert more of your leads to sales. You can pro-actively work on your reputation by becoming a thought leader in your field, for example, write a book, get an article published or speak at a conference.
You could ask your existing customers for written or video testimonials. Or you could have other peers, staff and clients endorse your services on LinkedIn or other social media.
- 6. Get connected – If business is about who you know, not what you know then you need to ensure you are connected. Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter offer a myriad of opportunities to build your network.
However a word of warning: make sure you build connection with value not sales in mind. Ask the question “How can I add value or help my connections?” rather than “How I can sell them something?”.
You will be surprised by how quickly that help and effort will turn into referrals back to you. If electronic networking is not your thing then make sure you are building your connections through networking at conferences and other events.
- 7. Build an alliance – Whether or not you have the right database of prospective clients to grow your business, someone else does.
You need to identify these companies and work out how you can help them achieve their goals so that you can achieve yours.
The internet has seen a proliferation of alliances so you will unlikely be breaking new ground. Ensure the company shares your values and is as equally committed to building a sustainable business as you or else you might be tainted with an image not of your choosing.
You could seek alliance relationships with customers, suppliers, industry bodies, companies that sell non-competing products to your target market, or companies that have similar products in different geographic locations.
- 8. Increase your price – Increasing your price by ensuring you give more value to your customers can often be the quickest way to generate more revenue.
Remember that every 10 per cent increase in price contributes more than the same 10 per cent increase in sales without all of the effort.
For instance if your profit margin is say 20 per cent then every 10 per cent increase in your price is equal to a 5 times that increase in new sales.
You might be surprised that your customers are either not as sensitive to price as you think or would appreciate the added value you could give them for only a small increase in price.
- 9. Be competitive – As a counter to increasing your price, ensure that you keep on top of the escalating increases in your cost base.
Ensure that you renegotiate with your suppliers regularly and remove unproductive people, products or processes.
The lower your cost base will either mean you make more profit that can be re-invested into growth strategies or be used to offer something more competitive to your target market. Start a competition with your team to see how much you can shave off your expenses.
- 10. Align Outcomes – Your team, whether employees or not, give you the greatest leverage to grow your business.
Share your goals and aspirations for your business and incentivise them on the outcomes. Incentives might include cash bonuses, responsibilities, promotions, equity, profit sharing or non-cash rewards.
Also don’t under estimate the power of incentives based on helping charities or other feel good pursuits.
* Creel Price’s book, The one thing to win at the game of business, was released this month by Wiley. www.accelerateglobal.com
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/10-ways-to-grow-your-business-by-10-or-20-or-50-in-12-months-20120524-1z687.html#ixzz1wDlb4NuZ