Ten ways to grow your business

1. Put up prices. This creates more profit (per sale) and, if you lose any customers, it will probably be the more price-sensitive, less loyal ones. You will be able to afford to lose them because you will probably make more money from the price increase than you will lose in customers leaving.

2. Decrease direct costs. Go to all your suppliers and ask them for a better price. Ask: “Is that the best you can do?”

3. Fix underperforming suppliers, customers, products and staff, as appropriate. Only once you have improved your business model (points one to three) so that you are making a decent profit per sale, should you consider increasing sales.

4. Be remarkable. Decide on three things you can do right now, and which cost nothing, that will blow away your existing customers and make them talk about you.

5. Sort your proposition or offer. Rethink the way you present your business. Customers are not that interested in what you do but they are interested in what you do can do for them. Why should people buy from you if you are the same as the competition? What makes you different from the rest?

6. Get more, better qualified leads.

7. Get better at talking to people, asking for the business and closing the sale. Go on a decent sales course. Adding ten per cent to each of these steps in the sales funnel will create 46 per cent more customers.

8. Get more customers. Get customers to buy more. Get customers to buy more often. Stop them leaving.

9. Collect money quicker. Write cheques slower.

10. Don’t procrastinate. Decide. Disrupt. Make the tough decisions. DIY is not an option. Take massive action, now.

Robert Craven spent five years running training and consultancy programmes for entrepreneurial businesses at Warwick Business School. He is the author of Kick-Start Your Business (foreword by Sir Richard Branson) and Bright Marketing. He now runs The Directors’ Centre and is described by the Financial Times as “the entrepreneurship guru”. For further information, contact Robert Craven on 01225 851044, rc@directorscentre.com

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