A lot of the conversation focused on how to get your business to grow as a new entrepreneur. Growth, particularly early growth, is the hardest thing for a new company to achieve in my opinion. At Spunlogic it took us a solid four years before we figured out how to grow (more on our story at Spunlogic). I thought more about that last night as I had dinner with another very successful entrepreneur and we talked about the early struggles of our businesses.
Six steps to growing your business:
1. Focus on growth. This might sound simple but its usually the biggest obstacle to growth. One of the entrepreneurs yesterday said that he struggles to focus on sales because he’s doing so much actual production on projects. My advice to him was to find a way to free his time up to focus on growing his business. We didn’t grow Spunlogic until I was able to focus most of my efforts on that single objective.
2. Find your niche. You need something to stand for, something that you and your team can “own”. For us it was the “user experience”. We decided to be the best web design agency at user experience and we built our reputation against that. By having something to talk about and become an expert in, you increase your chances of landing new clients.
3. Build a sales process. Check out this post by David Cummings on how he built a sales process at his first company.
4. Network, network, network. In my experience the more people you know, the more business you will get the chance to pitch. It can be a grind attending all the networking events, getting coffees, etc, but if you’re serious about growth its one of the best and most overlooked tactics you can use.
5. Make partnerships. Partnerships with other businesses that are complimentary to yours can be very fruitful venues for new business. During the early years of Spunlogic we partnered with anyone and everyone that needed our services. We provided creative services for technology agencies. We provided technology services for creative agencies. We provided digital services for traditional agencies. Partnerships are a great way to get work, build new relationships and grow your reputation in the industry.
6. Ask your existing customers. Most people overlook this idea, but asking your existing customers for business is one of the best ways to get new leads. These are people that like you (presumably) and are usually happy to help you succeed. Ask them who they can introduce you to and you’ll be surprised how many are willing to do that.
If you have more ideas on how to grow your business, please share!