Expanding your business depends on careful implementation of three principles.
First, what’s your number one priority over the next 90 days? If you’re not expanding enough, it could be because you have too many priorities or you’ve got the wrong priority and it comes down to, do you have the right question, what is the purpose of your business?
The second is do you have the right data, both quantitative and qualitative, are you getting enough information from your customers and from the market to tell you what you need to work on next?
Third, do you walk into a room and talk about it, which is a little like a one-hour marketing meeting with your team to promote the business? If you’re not clear about the first thing you need to work on next, it could be because you don’t have the right data or you’re just not getting into the room and talking about it.
These are the three basics of the Rockefeller Habits.
Ivy Lee method
As the saying goes: “Goals without routines are desires and routine without goals is aimless.”
You have to understand that preparation actions set you free. And if you think rationally, success stems from something very simple: goals + routines.
Remember that setting actions is crucial. The coach of the legendary 19th century American businessman John D. Rockefeller was a man named Ivy Lee who was also the coach of several giants during the industrial age.
During the coaching session, Lee shared what he considered to be a key ingredient to success.
He taught his followers to keep in mind the most important thing for an entrepreneur, which is to set yourself and everyone in the organization top priorities for the following day, week, month, quarter, and year.
He argued that you can’t just generate a random list, you have to prioritize it eg, from one to six, and the key is to follow that order wisely. You can’t go to three if one and two aren’t complete.
As the famous story goes, he told me, “Look, I’m not charging anything for this advice, use it for a month and pay me what you think it’s worth.” Charles Schwab, shipping magnate then one of the world’s richest men, wrote a check for $25,000 which in today’s dollars would be close to half a million for that tip.
Execution helps you make a profit, if you want to get things done right then you have to be mindful of when you need to say no and that is hard for entrepreneurs because you are motivated and have a lot of ideas.
Get into a good execution rhythm by starting with two to three big priorities that you can achieve over the next three months. Align everyone in the organization to contribute to the achievement of the organization’s mission and vision.
At the end of the quarter, measure success and learn from your performance, recalibrating or pivoting as necessary to stay on top of your priorities and drive the business forward. Be clear about who is responsible for those priorities even though many employees contribute to achieving them.
If you want to expand, you need to know how to reach out to the best influencers and create a list of 25 influencers you should meet.
Then, you need to set aside 1 hour a week for marketing, away from sales, product or service design, and networking with the top 25 influencers who will help you scale your business.
Make a list of your top five people and spend an hour each week figuring out how to reach these people and convince them to support and sign up for your product or business.
What you want to jump into is the power of the influencer at work. The list of top 25 people in the industry can include, for example, bosses, socialites, youtubers, magazines, bloggers, etc., with whom you need to build close relationships and keep up with what you do.
Make the list and start networking, you may not know these influencers but don’t worry about it, you may know someone who knows someone and start from there. To keep in touch with top influencers, you can, for example, present an article or book that particularly touched you with the influencers or you can write a diary of their birthdays and children’s anniversaries and send a personalized card on that important day.
Another way to stay connected is by setting up a google alert if you don’t know what google alerts are then google and google alerts and stay in touch with your top influencers.
Google Alerts monitors when their name appears on the media and uses that moment to communicate with them.
Call and get to know their assistants and at least get the assistant’s email and start emailing when an important issue arises and start defining the nature of those relationships and you’ll be surprised how far they go.
To scale your business, you need to create good public relations, develop great press materials, and be willing to create good public relations, and the more you work, the more press will follow.
Get the press to write about your business, even if you don’t have the money, try to be creative and innovative in how you get the press.
You need to understand how to get people to be interested in your business, figure out what will entice people to use your product, what will motivate them to want to invest money and time with you, and then creatively package that.
Do story-worthy events and come up with creative ideas.
Watch out for the icebergs
In business, you should always be on the lookout for icebergs – the looming threats that could come and wipe out your business or wipe out an entire industry as we have seen with the Covid-19 pandemic.
All kinds of changes including technological change, legislative change, competition change or even geopolitical conflicts or tensions. If you can learn to spot the iceberg ahead of time and can learn to see it before everyone else, you’ll get two big things going for (1) avoiding danger and (2) allowing you to take advantage of the situation in a number of ways, for example, if a major change such as a pandemic comes along and you can From seeing it, you will have a vast blue ocean where you can innovate and come up with great products.
line of credit
The next thing you want to do is build your relationship with a bank and establish yourself well enough that you may even go to lunch with the CEO of your bank.
Your bank must be large enough to be able to grow with you. Build your relationship early on when things are going well because you often need to bank when things are not going well.
Treat your bankers as partners, not just a supplier. Remember that bank debt gives you leverage to invest again in your business. You need to have the necessary cash when you want to expand.
If you look at companies that can thrive and survive in any operating environment from a cash perspective, they have roughly three to six times more cash reserves or access to credit lines than their competitors.
As a general rule, you are guaranteed to have at least six months of operating cash reserves, and this will keep you focused on making your business great. A trusted banking relationship will serve you well in your business.
And in business, always remember: “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” As said by author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek. Create a compelling purpose for your business.
The author is the Chief Budget Officer at the African Development Bank and author of Unlock Your Body Budget.