In business, as in life, we tend to think, talk and dream of growth. Starting from when we are small children who “just want to grow up,” it is natural for us to want to better ourselves, be more, do more, etc. When it comes to business, growth is the backbone of your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). KPI’s are the habits and activities that drive your results. They can be the topic at the executive roundtables and often the key component of your annual review as assess your scorecard. If you own your own business, growth is often the lens through which you make all your big decisions.
Know Those Numbers
One of my favorite shows is The Profit with Marcus Lemonis. Following his “3P mantra” he analyzes businesses based on the people on their team, the product they sell and the processes they have in place. Watching and studying this show is akin to getting an MBA in real world business. The show is addictive and a must watch for any business owner or aspiring high-school or college business student. Struggling businesses write to Marcus to help them.
He will visit, do his recon and decide if he wants to make an offer to invest in their business. Marcus makes no money off the show! He only makes it when he invests. Marcus harps on the importance of business owners knowing their numbers – cost of goods, annual sales revenue, gross profit margins, and expenses as percentage of gross profit.
As you watch the show, it is surprising how often owners of all sized businesses don’t know these numbers, instead are relying on others to have this information. For anyone in a leadership role, taking ownership of all aspects of the business is not only important, it is necessary. In order to grow confidently, and smartly, you must know your numbers.
The entrepreneur mindset is often that “the sky’s the limit” and if you grind hard enough, you’ll achieve unparalleled success. This is true, and happens, but not by waving a magic wand. Identifying real benchmarks, having contingency plans etc. are all crucial.
Embrace the Underdog Mentality
According to a recent survey by Kabbage Inc., 60% of small business owners think their revenue growth is behind that of their competitors. This isn’t the worst thing, as long as you have the right mentality. If you feel you’re behind your peers, and your natural reaction is to fight, work harder, push more, then it can be a positive. However, if it leads you onto a path of fear, negative stress or the urge to throw in the towel, then of course that’s not what you want.
“The findings suggest small business owners may carry unwarranted self-doubt about the financial health of their businesses, and a lack of proper insights into their market or industry may influence why small businesses skew toward underconfidence.”
So how to use healthy competition to your advantage? Knowledge is power, so the more you know about your industry, your community, the better you can prepare yourself. But there is nothing wrong with a little underdog mentality. To avoid going to a negative place and grow confidently, find ways to Get Switched On and approach your business energetically and with purpose. Start your morning with aerobic exercise to get your heart pumping and simple exercises to maximize the impact you’ll have that day. When you feel energetic it is easier to push through doubts and stress and come out the other side motivated and ready for growth.
Celebrate All Wins
In last week’s blog post, I went through how the call center team at TruGreen celebrates their sales. Setting up processes for a team lunch after a big sale or extra hours off when you hit quarterly numbers are great options. But even smaller acts, like a team cheer when a prospect calls you back or you’re mentioned in a local publication, done consistently can raise morale and provide you and your team with the confidence needed to grow.
“People will work for recognition and opportunity more than they’ll work for anything else.”
Maybe it’s hitting your labor benchmarks. Maybe it’s consistent sales above your breakeven. Growth can take time, and hitting your major goals can seem daunting. So while the big wins are amazing, identifying all levels of wins in different areas of your business can help build confidence. Whatever you consider a win, be sure to celebrate it, each and every time and bring your team into the celebration.
Grow confidently by knowing your stuff, building up your people and approaching each day with energy and fire.