Growing a sustainable business is down-played and over-simplified a lot. Sure, I get why some people don’t want it to sound too difficult because it isn’t, if you’re in the know. But in a world where everything about the game is evolving faster than ever, too much information can be overwhelming. And it’s easy to waste time on the wrong advice, or even the right advice for that matter if it’s “incomplete”.
For example, a few of the many ways to stimulate growth,
…you can find ways to charge higher prices.
Some say, “Stop Low-Balling” your offer and charge more. But in a lot of cases, most of us worry about a possible drop in demand and revenue if we charge more. We all want more people to access the benefits of our products and services. I get that.
Another way is…
…you can find ways to draw in more ideal clients.
Some of the marketing pro’s say “Stop Chasing Clients” – instead attract more of the right prospects and convert those ones into clients. But a lot of us are busy in what’s become a very busy world. So we worry about “Dropping The Ball”. And I’m familiar with the mentality of – keeping existing clients happy generates referrals. This brings in a lot of business because it works and takes less effort.
Here’s another way…
…you can find ways to get repeat purchases from clients.
A well-known entrepreneur/marketer/speaker said something like “you don’t find clients for your services, find services for your clients”. And from experience I can tell you, this too makes a lot of sense. Show happy clients that you have more to offer and help them. It’s much easier to sell them other things because they’re already happy. Sounds right, yes?
So with that thought in mind, what other kinds of products/services could you find for your clients?
What I’m about to share, I’ve been doing since the hand-held brick cell phones were not so portable in the sense of putting one in your pocket. It was as tall as my iPad, maybe even slightly taller 😉 I digress…
When it came to consistently winning across different industries, I was fortunate enough to hang out and work alongside some very smart business dominators. These guys and gals had mastered how to strategically RUN profitable businesses, SELLING lots of different stuff and GROWING real fast too. They enjoyed steady growth into different markets despite the ups and downs of the economic climates. It was “street smart” experience (and they have the happy clients, and large bank accounts to prove it).
I benefit greatly from their wisdom. And this is where I initially decoded my strategic principals for business.
You must observe the market as it is… not what you believe it should be or what you wish it could be.
To find the kind of products/services people really want, you’ve got to CONTINUALLY reality-check the market place and test ideas. I can give you a few REALITY-CHECKS to get you thinking, so you CAN shift to more doing (hopefully).
Reality-Check 1: Find out what your clients truly want
In a lot of the cases, I find we’re not delivering more value to our clients because we don’t know what else they truly want outside of what they’re currently buying from us.
For example, I want you to imagine this situation. You’re a finance consultant. Let’s say Jack and Jill wants to borrow money to buy a particular property up on the hill 😉
In this case, you have certain criteria they must meet to get the money. So you gather that info and whatever documents necessary to help facilitate that loan, right?
I want you to consider adding this perspective – what if they want to buy that property because they see it as a stepping stone to what they truly want – “To Build Wealth”. Unless you dig deeper with questions, you’ll never know.
Pull out a sheet of paper and write “Challenges & Problems” at the top.
Then ask them…
“What are some of your biggest challenges?”, and be sure to dig deeper to find out what they truly want.
People worry and swim in their challenges all day so of course they’d be willing to talk to an experienced person. Your objective here is to listen and identify those things that challenge them, and specifically pinpoint the related services and or products they need.
Now what you’ve identified in essence is different ways to moving up the value ladder in their mind.
But how do you deliver these extra value services/products? What if you are NOT skilled enough…
Reality-Check 2: Find new ways to add extra value to help your clients
When you’ve completed reality-check 1, you’ve also worked out the other big problems they need to solve to get what they truly want. This intel is extremely valuable to you and your network.
Work out some kind of formal arrangement with someone you know and trust, who can competently do what you don’t currently offer. You can outsource those specific things to them and profit share, or you can simply refer your clients directly to them for free. Either way, your clients are going to be happy. Even if it initially makes you nothing in terms of revenue, you’ll get the goodwill points in their mind because they received the introduction from you. The clients you help in this way will recognise that you were the one who helped them get what they truly wanted. That’s what being a trusted leader in your field is about.
Back to our finance consultant example – now Jack and Jill have their loan sorted to buy the property up on the hill. They might need other professional services, like – legal, conveyance or tax planning services, cash flow risk management and asset protection, and perhaps alternative investment opportunities etc. I’ve worked with brands that created and offered many different kinds of services and products under the one umbrella. And I’ve also worked with independent niche specialist that partner and profit share with other pros and or just refer clients on in specific situations, for free.
Now if you ARE skilled enough to provide, create and build those extra value services or products internally, then invest your time to create and build those extra things. You can temporarily give up some TV time or drinks at the pub 😉
The point here is, do something NOW. Just take action. Little actions done daily add up over time. Create the extra value and it will become an asset that you can monetise and scale later. The little voice inside you will thank you for it in the future 🙂
I’ve heard some say, “No Free Time To Spare”…I say, “there is no better preparation for tomorrow than doing your absolute best work today”. Go out and partner with or refer the extra work to competent people you can trust. There might be someone waiting in your network who also wants to create a win-win type arrangement. Who knows you might establish something you both profit from.
I think Richard Branson frames this quite well,
“Seek out strategic alliances; they are essential to growth and provide resistance to bigger competition.”
You might be thinking all this effort could make you nothing.
Where do you draw the line? When do you refer free work, and when do you stop doing free work, and what should you charge? If something doesn’t appear to make business sense to us, we often become less motivated to do more. If in doubt at this early stage, there’s one step you will always try first if it’s available to you: ask a smart friend how he or she solved the same problem . If you have smart friends in business, that’s fantastic. They will help you to figure out the pros and cons, saving you loads of time and effort.
Your objective is to work out how you can create extra value, serve your clients better and profit as a business.
Reality-Check 3: Find out how this extra value makes money
There are different ways to monetised the extra value you create. For example, you might escape manual work by scaling, and or automating your business. I know it’s easier said and harder to figure out on your own.
But I can’t guide you with specifics here today. You see anyone who’s done this kind of thing multiple times before like I have, will tell you, there’s no one-size-fits-all method. Situations differ. And I don’t want to insult your intelligence by suggesting otherwise. I’ve been around more industries and markets than I can list. So I know a thing or two about how to build and maximise profits.
The point of this article is to give you insights and inspire you to action. So if one of those actions involves you finding someone skilled to guide you, that’s super. Because one proven approach to winning a lot faster in business is to combine a variety of skills that work well together – I’ve spoken about Skills Stacking before.
Please don’t be afraid or worry about delivering more value than the service(s) or product(s) you currently offer.
Fear makes a lot of people stay small. Being in small business doesn’t mean being small minded.
The way to push through fear is to EMBRACE limitations. Make them work for you. If you follow me, you’ll remember I’ve spoken about how to do that before.
Be patient too! These approaches won’t make you lots of mulla overnight. I’ve taken months, even years, to organically grow some very big and highly profitable businesses. However, you don’t need to follow my path. I bet you’ve made a few mistakes to get to where you are today.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned “the hard way”…
Don’t get too comfortable. Nothing in business today lasts forever. Just as the world evolves so too must you and your business!
Here’s what I hope from this: You’ll take these 3 Reality-Checks, begin working them and leverage your skills, knowledge and network to build a business that provides greater value to the world. Now you can,
…serve your clients deeper and wider without compromising on what you already do best.
I’ve seen clients tweak their approach, generate way more revenue, delivering greater value within weeks or in some specific cases, a few months.
It may seem like a lot of possibilities to pursue. Perhaps you’re not sure where to begin, right?
Here’s my advice… just start TODAY and find all the challenges and problems you could solve for your clients and let things evolve on your journey.
There are many more ways to amplify your edge. I’ll keep sharing here.
Do you know of other ways? Feel free to share ideas that have worked for you. I’d love to hear them.
Until then, here’s to more blue skies ahead 🙂
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That is so true! Especially in today’s economic times. My friend is looking for ways to pivot and adapt to the limitations imposed to her business, so I have shared this post. I hope it becomes a sparks for her to reinvent her business model.
Thanks for sharing.