Solo business growth strategies
As a soloist, you may love your work but for many there comes a time when you reach the limit of your experience and want to push your business further. Here are the business growth strategies I've implemented to do just that.
It seems basic, but getting out there and networking is a crucial first step. The aim is to have an effective network around you that includes referral sources, clients, suppliers and excellent drinking companions when you need to discuss an issue or celebrate a win.
2. Widen your skill set to broaden your range
I suggest starting a variety of courses. Some will be great and some will leave you flat. Take care not to do too many at once or you won’t have time to implement the lessons. It is easy to get caught up with everything else your business requires you to do, so make sure the useful lessons you learn are not lost.
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3. Get a business coach
Business coaches can give you a great external perspective. They push the boundaries and question your motivations. They help you identify alternative directions. But don’t forget that ultimately, even if they say they are a partner in your business, they are a paid consultant, not a partner.
"Business coaches push the boundaries and question your motivations."
At the start of 2007, I’d followed all these business growth strategies. I thought “I have a good network, I’ve done courses and I’ve had a coach.”
While all of these were beneficial, to really make sure I use what I know to grow my business, I needed accountability.
It was time for me to get a “boss” that I have to regularly report to. So for me, the next step was setting up an advisory board.
4. Advisory Board
I thought about the experience of the people close to me. I have a father who is a retired executive from a multinational, on the board of a nonprofit and a director of a small business. Then there’s my brother who is an accountant at a New York accounting firm while my mother has grown up in a small business family, worked in small business and moved up the ranks in the hospital pharmacy system. Finally there’s my friend who has a range of marketing experience.
This group were willing to donate their time and expertise at advisory meetings every six weeks. When my business has the gains required, they will get the benefits of a board (i.e. dividends), without the risks as they are not financially liable.
I now have a group of people, a board of sorts, that I have to report to. This has made me step up from being a technician to being a director. I am now required to report on my compliance (profit and loss), activities including SWOT assessments of projects and strategies such as marketing. I have to follow up the actions that are discussed and report back to the board at the next meeting.
I have a good network of like-minded business people who give me great insights just from talking to them, I go to great courses and learn heaps and I have also had a business coach who asks the right questions of me.
But an advisory board has given my business something nothing else has – it has made me think like the director of a company rather than just someone who runs a small business. It is this new perspective that has given me the perspective to really push my boundaries and take my business to new heights.
What business growth strategies have worked for you?