New business growth in 2 simple steps, how we broke from the day to day grind
By Nick Hastings
I was recently asked what the key influence was for our triple digit growth in 2017 and after thinking through all the initiatives we had executed across our business in that time there was a common thread, everything we did was guided by our lighthouse message. Below are two simple steps to how we found that focus.
Step 1 - Stop comparing your business to everyone else’s.
Easy to say, hard to do. For the large majority in today’s personal, digital world of complete accessibility and little privacy, life has become a view, judge and compete system, in business however this has always been the case. Traditionally keeping a close eye on your market, major competitors (the few there probably were) and staying one step ahead was key to competitive advantage. Now though, with around 2 million Small, Midsize Businesses (SMB’s) in Australia it’s a safe bet there’s probably lots of people out there doing something very similar to you. I know personally for us there’s over 2,500 Business Process Outsourcing providers in the Philippines with a large majority of those servicing the Australian market, and knowing the market there’s a lot of “cowboys” offering a message we believe is a false economy. Still it’s hard when you look through a competitor’s window not to question yourself, to doubt if that strategic decision you made or the message you’re sending out is right. The key, is to back yourself, stop comparing your business to everyone else’s and execute on your difference, because if it’s honest and you can deliver to your customers (the most important of all), you’ll grow.
Step 2 – (Re) Discover your difference and focus on it.
Hopefully you had worked this out before you invested your hard-earned capital. Easy to say now, it took the first 6 months of hitting the market 7 days a week to really find ours. In hindsight we realised we had made the cardinal sin, trying to be all things to everyone, grabbing as many “sales” as we could and in turn putting pressure on delivery (our difference). You started your journey for a reason, what was that reason? There’s a passion that comes with that reason and behind it, a message. Remember it, write it on the back of your toilet door, do whatever you need to do to make it your business muscle memory. Now, when you speak to potential customers, invest in a marketing campaign, conference or phone calls (yes cold calling and lead generation is still key) speak to that message. The market and those potential customers in waiting aren’t dumb, they may have already been burnt by those cowboys, but they will recognise the real value in partnership with you and in turn become your best sales tool, spreading your lighthouse message. For us 60% of our baseline growth in 2017 came from our existing customers and referrals from them. We think this was due to our difference.