Confession time! I’m avoiding the ginormous task of deciding which schools to apply my daughter to for kindergarten this fall. The system here in Manhattan is overwhelming, even for the public schools!
So instead, I’m writing this post to chat more about growing your business – a much more enjoyable task :).
Maybe you can relate to my overwhelm. Our business sometimes feels like our child. “Raising it” to be happy, healthy and growing can be overwhelming.
So, let’s continue our chat about how to grow your business so you can survive the big shifts taking place online.
First, a quick summary of what we talked about in the last post…
- Every entrepreneur will hit multiple growth barriers (income ceilings) along their journey
- A growth barrier will hold you back until you make the necessary upgrades in your business
- For every week spent hitting a barrier, you miss out on more money, impact, and opportunities
- Busting through a barrier always requires a) getting outside perspective from coaches, mentors or masterminds and b) making uncomfortable leaps of faith
- Taking the leap to the next level is an investment that produces a huge ROI
Click here if you want to (re-)read part one in this series. I’ll meet you back here.
Did you know there are only three ways to grow your business? That’s it. Can you guess what they are?
I’ll let you think about that for just a minute.
First, let’s look at three things that most people think will grow their business, but that really lead to overwhelm, burnout and mediocre results.
- Get more traffic
- Do more product promotions or launches
- Raise prices or take on more clients
Are you nodding your head yet? I am. I’ve been guilty of focusing on each these. And boy was it disappointing.
Here’s why focusing on these three things to grow your business is often a huge mistake.
Mistake #1: Focusing on Generating More Traffic
Everyone wants more traffic, right? We all want more people to see our content and visit our site because some of them might like what they see and become customers or clients…in theory.
It seems to make a lot of sense. It’s an easy assumption to make.
The problem is this…
You don’t need traffic.
When you’re starting out, there are far more effective (and faster) ways to get your first customers than getting more traffic from content, search engines or social media.
What about when you already have customers, but want more? Again, traffic is the wrong focus.
Focusing on getting more traffic usually means adding yet another media channel or social network to your marketing mix and creating more content.
Each one of these things requires more of your time. Sooner than later, you max out and burnout.
Plus, free traffic is usually slow to grow. Sure, you can get the quick hit here and there. But overall the rate of content-driven traffic is out of your control, not to mention it can disappear overnight when Google, Facebook or whatever other platform changes the rules of the game.
To be clear, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do content marketing. It still plays a role in establishing your authority, earning the trust of your audience and preparing them to buy.
However, to grow your business you need a predictable flow of qualified leads, not more traffic.
Shift your focus from getting more traffic to getting more leads. This will help you choose strategies that will produce growth faster and more frequently.
Mistake #2: Doing More Product Launches and Promotions
Ever thought or said something like this:
“If I want to grow my income, I just need to sell more products. So, I’ll do more launches and promotions.”
The logics seems sound. It’s an easy assumption to make (one that I have made many times).
Here’s the harsh truth.
Launches are good for bringing in cash, not for growing your baseline, predictable monthly income.
The way most people do launches, it turns into a vicious cycle of boom and bust.
Fill the coffers. Yay! Spend the money. Boo! Gotta launch again!
Again, I want to be clear. Launches are great when you use them as a part of your business model in the right way.
But they are horrible for business growth.
Launches are exhausting, resource-intensive and unpredictable.
You can’t easily test, tweak and improve them.
When you launch too often, you also burn out your list.
Bottom line: if you depend solely on launches and frequent promotions to generate income and growth, you are at risk and far more likely to stay stuck.
Mistake #3: Taking on More Clients and/or Raising Prices
If you make most of your money doing direct client work, then pay close attention here.
Eventually, you hit a point where you’re hustling too hard to make too little money.
To make more money, you take on more clients. But there’s a limit to how many clients you can handle. This creates a ceiling on your income.
Or maybe you raise your prices. Great! Most people need to raise their prices. And yes, that will earn you more revenue.
However, if this is your primary way of growing your income, you are severely limited. You can still only handle so many clients and there’s only so much each is willing to pay.
Now that we’ve looked at what not to focus on to grow your business, let’s look at what does work.
When it Comes Down to It, There Are Only Three Ways to Grow Your Business
Every strategy, tactic or system for growing your income, and impact falls into one of these three categories.
- Attract more leads
- Convert more leads into customers
- Boost the lifetime value of each customer (i.e. how much value you deliver to and income you generate from each customer over time)
That’s it. The key is knowing…
- Which of the three growth areas is most important to focus on now
- The one or two strategies that will generate the biggest growth in that area
Notice how focused that is. One growth area at a time. One or two strategies at a time.
Until you have a team of five or more people, you can’t handle more than that without hurting your results.
Given everything we’ve discussed so far, it’s easy to see why so many business owners hit a growth barrier and just keep slamming against it.
If you are struggling to grow your business you are likely either…
- Focused on the wrongs things and/or
- Doing too many things at once
The end result?
You get distracted by your next idea. You get pulled into the next sexy marketing message and buy yet another product.
“Oh, this must be what I need! Sign me up!”
Bit by bit you end up with a menagerie of tactics and partial strategies that add up to disappointment, overwhelm, and little growth.
All right. That’s a lot to think over for today. The big takeaway here is to FOCUS.
Know what to focus on next to grow your most important objectives right now.
In my next post, I’ll talk about the most common growth barriers that online businesses run into for each of the three growth areas we discussed above.
It will help you identify the biggest weaknesses (and therefore opportunities) when it comes to growing your income and impact.