Building a successful business isn’t about doing one big thing right one time. Even though one big thing can cripple your business, it is usually a series of small things that determine how successful you become. Not one big blast of sales or skill.
One of the mistakes leaders make when trying to grow their businesses is focusing disproportionately on big things. Usually that big thing is growing revenue – more sales.
Very often, the strategy looks a lot like this:
The company goes out and looks for a senior sales executive that has existing clients and lots of experience in the space that the company is working in right now. They hire that senior person for lots of money and gamble that the executive can make sales faster then the company needs the extra revenue.
It is a poker move. A bluff. And sometimes it works. Sometimes it works really, really well.
But, the odds are never in your favor.
One big mistake and you lose your gamble. Even if things are headed in the right direction, you can crash-and-burn before you build the runway long enough to launch. Experience doesn’t always translate into expertise.
The truth is that you can be bold and audacious without making risky bets that often backfire.
You can have edgy ideas and position your business for big growth without most of the risk that comes with gambling. Here are some ways to do that:
- Talk publicly about the problems in your industry. Point out the weaknesses with your business model (and your competitors) and force a dialogue about possible fixes. You win for being vulnerable. Your competitors look weak and scared.
- Make sure that any materials that leave your company (or represent your company) are professionally designed. And have a personality. Be witty or satirical or down right hilarious. Make your image something that attracts the type of customers that you want to do business with you.
- Renew a company-wide focus on hard work. Talk about it openly. Explain how working harder is going to help you distance yourself from your competitors. Lead by example. Reward accomplishments generously. And only hire people who can work tirelessly.
- Go out of your way to re-dazzle old customers who have fallen by the way-side. Figure out what went wrong and make it right. Apologize and learn from your mistakes. And take the lessons you’ve learned to make sure existing customers stay happy and excited.
- Apologize loudly when you make a mistake. Clients give you emotional bonus points for being human. Take advantage of that to have meaningful conversations and allow clients to tell you what they going through. You’ll learn how best to be awesome.
- Be emotionally invested. Send handwritten follow-up notes to one person each day. Make three “random” how-are-you-doing calls to clients and friends where you don’t ask for business — just make sure they are doing OK.
- Reframe the conversation so it benefits you best. Don’t let nasty, stupid people hog all the publicity in your industry. Get guerrilla. Be candid. Create videos. Write blogs. Tweet until your fingers bleed. People are listening. Start sharing your side of the story.
- Use technology to do more with less. Use task tracking apps to keep you ahead of schedule. Use news apps to track topics about your clients, new prospects, and your industry. Solve problems for your customers before they even know the problem existed.
The details matter. If you are trying to grow revenue by being lucky, you are going to fail big.
Success is best created by momentum.
And building momentum is just another fancy word for “good old-fashioned hard work.”
There are no other shortcuts.
But the benefit your momentem is that you crush your competitors overwhelmingly. You grow your sales impressively. You dominate while others fail to launch.
You aren’t gambling with your future. You are planning smartly how to win big by mastering small details.