Growing Your Business: Tips from Industry Titans
You opened your business with a strong vision but the road to success isn’t always easy. Especially if you’re struggling to grow due to:
- Tough competition
- Evolving markets
- New technology
- Employee turnover
The good news is you don’t have to find ways to grow your business all on your own. Instead, you can find a business mentor or even look for advice from industry titans that came before you.
Who knows? Their words of wisdom may be what you need to get back on track and restore your passion like never before.
Business tips from industry titans
Successful business people may sell different products, but they often follow some of the same advice. Common pieces of advice successful business titans swear by include:
1. Don’t overwork yourself
Achieving a work-life balance can help you be more productive in the long-run. Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post, swears by using all your vacation days. Prioritizing happiness can help you perform better at your job. Huffington once stated, “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” Ultimately, you want to dedicate yourself to work and to time off.
2. Don’t be afraid to break the rules
If you have an established process at your business, it’s ok to break it. When you look outside of the rules, you may find a new breakthrough. This can help your business achieve new heights and stay adaptable in your market. In fact, many successful business titans have sworn by taking risks. Marissa Mayer, former president and CEO of Yahoo!, once stated, “If you can push through that feeling of taking a risk, really amazing things can happen.”
3. Keep your employees inspired
Angela Ahrendts, former senior vice president at Apple once stated “Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” Building relationships with your employees helps them feel appreciated. This, in turn, helps build morale and productivity in your business. Infusing inspiration into your employees around your product is equally as important. Employees interact with your customers every day. They communicate about your products and services. If they’re lacking inspiration it will translate to the customer. This could eventually impact your sales.
4. Never stop learning
It doesn’t matter if you sign up for a new class or learn new ideas from others. You never know when a new skill can help your business. It’s also important to learn as you go. Don’t let a lack of experience stop you from starting a new project or a new business idea. Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, supported this idea when he stated “Too many capable people limit their options because they think they don’t have enough experience or feel that they need to work their way up the corporate ladder by visiting every single rung on the way up. Too many people tell me that their dream is to leave their boring cog in the machine day job and start their own business, but they couldn’t possibly think of doing that because they’ve never had experience running one – well that’s a bit chicken and egg! Carpe diem! The time is now! Time and tide wait for no man. No one is going to hand you your future on a plate.”
5. Embrace failure
Each time you fail at something you learn and grow. This makes failure an important part of success for many business titans. Huffington also supported this piece of advice when she stated “My mother told me failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone to success. You’re going to fail, probably many times. But that’s okay — in fact, it’s essential. Very often, the difference between success and failure is simply perseverance. If we become so dependent on things always being a success, then we’re in a very vulnerable position — because we’re not in control of how the world is going to receive something.”
Businessman and investor Mark Cuban also encouraged business owners to take risks when he stated, “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” In sum, as long as you persevere through failure, you’ll find success.
6. Don’t second guess yourself
Successful business people say it’s important to trust yourself and your instincts. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, stated that one of the most important things you can do for success is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself.7
7. Get out of your comfort zone
Successful business people emphasize pushing past what makes them comfortable. This leads to growth. Oprah Winfrey, American media executive, talk show host and television producer, once stated, “I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.”
8. Say yes to opportunities along the way
Saying yes to small opportunities along the way can eventually lead to greater opportunities. For instance, you may say yes to a dinner invite where you make a business contact that helps you grow your business later on. Eric Schmidt, former CEO and executive chairman of Google, brought this idea home when he stated “Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse and even your kids.”
9. Listen to customer feedback
Listen to your customers’ complaints, no matter how harsh they seem. This can help you improve your products and services. These complaints can also help you really get to know your customers. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, supported this idea when he once stated, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, also brought this point home when he stated “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customers. Our goal is to be the world’s most customer-centric company.”
10. Aim for quality over quantity
You want to produce products that people are truly satisfied with. This can help your business build a stronger reputation. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, promoted this when he stated “Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
How do you keep your business growing?
If you’re looking for ways to take action immediately, consider these tips for successfully growing your business:
1. Provide training to your employees
Investing time in the growth and development of each employee in your business will help strengthen your team. Not only does training help employees perform their job better, but it also makes them happier. Both of these translate into a more productive workplace for you. If you’re still not convinced, Howard Schultz, executive chairman at Starbucks even stated that “Investing in people is how we grow.”
You also want to invest in the correct insurance coverage for your employees. Making sure you have workers’ compensation coverage lets your employee’s know they’re covered if an accident occurs. For instance, if your employee gets injured or ill from working at your business, workers’ comp can help cover their medical costs.
2. Identify your weaknesses as early as possible
Every business can improve somewhere. You want to take the time to evaluate where you need to improve. For instance, you may want to ask yourself questions like these:
- Do I need more money to grow your business? If you do, consider getting investors.
- Is my business disorganized? If it is, find ways to organize it. This can be as simple as spending money on office storage.
- Is my marketing plan a little shaky? Set time aside to develop your marketing strategy. Look into cheap ways to reach your target audience. Don’t make the mistake of relying on only word-of-mouth marketing. Instead, create promotions to help sell your products or services.
- Continuously analyze your competitors.
Take the time to really look at how your competitors are approaching your market. Look at the industry standards they follow. You can also look at what is giving them a competitive edge. Be sure to dig deeper into their motives behind their decisions. This can give you insight into customer expectations in your market.
3. Channel your inner creativity
Encourage creativity with your employees and yourself. If you have an employee with a wild new idea, give it a shot. You never know what may transform your product for the better.
How can small businesses grow to big businesses?
If you’re looking for an even bigger push to grow your small business consider these steps:
1. Plan to innovate for the future
You may have a product or service that is successful on a small scale already, but if you want to become a big business you’ll need to change it up. Big businesses appeal to a wider target market. One way to do this is by finding niche markets.
Once you find a niche or even two you can create new products and services to appeal to them. The strategy behind this is all about diversifying what you offer. You want to bring in new customers with new products. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg L.P., once stated, “Organizations resist innovation – and those that do inevitably fail – because people are more comfortable with what they know than with what they don’t.”
Encourage new ideas, creativity, and innovation at your business, to avoid failing later.
2. Find investors
In order to grow, many small businesses need an economic push from investors. Getting investors interested in your business isn’t as hard as you may think. You can start by:
- Developing a strong business plan
- Examining your financial performance
- Putting a strong marketing plan in place
- Investing in employee training
These are all areas investors will likely inquire about.
3. Find a larger partner
Teaming up with a partner that is bigger than your business can help pull you up and towards growth. Larger businesses can share resources that can help you grow. For example, they may be able to share manufacturing equipment with you that can expand your product offerings.
If your business isn’t growing and you’re feeling stuck, it may be time to take a risk. Stepping out of your comfort zone through innovation is one of the most important things you can do – and that’s according to who succeeded before you.