Lara Morgan, Chairman and Founder of Company Shortcuts
Does your company have?
– a clear business model?
– a strategy with a product that sells and can sell again?
– a product or service that is in demand?
– some income flow and profit?
If you answered yes to all of the above, then it is time to accelerate from a platform of strength. It is time to repeat the tried and tested but also to review and constantly meet market demand. Complacency kills so much growth and you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball, which is often the number one customer who is currently paying for your growth indulgence. Nevertheless, without scale how will you get to the next level of the business potential?
Get the right people on your bus
Jim Collins is right, you will not go from good to great without having Class A players on your bus. You may have to change roles for some long-term loyal early building staff who have a place but not the skill set to drive new managed fast-growth expectations.
Probably more than eight people are needed before you can gain considerable and relatively pain-free growth (unless you plan for an increase in people to service the customer).
Stop being the sales superhero
Be ready for change and take more of a role in sharing, training, delegating and leadership lessons that may mean old bad habits have to die. If you have, as is often the case, been the (sort of) benevolent dictator to a small team, communicate your desire to change. Make your team aware of your goals and get them to share their own ideas.
Make sure your foundations are in good shape, from the hardware of your office, to cloud storage and office space and even ensuring your team are ready for a new challenge. Hours of effort will be wasted without a team effort to grow sustainably and profitably.
Develop a sales bible
Have you got a sales bible that allows a newcomer to get the heads up before arrival on first day? Is your induction template respected by everyone in your company? A sales bible must outline your plan to manage consistently, encourage, engage and continue to stay in touch with your customer so you know you can deliver on your promise.
Pipeline at tipping point
You must speculate to accumulate but I know from experience the need to have a pipeline of sales conversions at tipping point, ready to fund the next stage of investment.
A war chest
Keep your eye on the finances throughout growth change and always have something up your sleeve. Above all, have confidence in your own sales convictions. Review your business plan and ensure you have a war chest as a buffer to deal with the inevitable strains of new growth in sales.
Don’t be afraid to share your figures
Reporting and costings for products need to become accessible. Consider opening up your whole reporting to all that work with you; we did (only stopping at earnings share) and the results were wholly positive.
Keep your eye on the prize
Whilst all this change is taking place you will feel overwhelmed but there is a positive other side: keep your eye on the cash and be motivated by the prize of building an asset moving from a lifestyle business to one that is a growing asset that may one day spin off profit without you at the helm.
Progress like this takes enormously effort, and while it isn’t for the faint hearted, with guidance, self awareness and the will to succeed, the returns can be life changing. Write down your own mantra. I had a piece of paper by my desk that said: “It feel’s like forever this moment we are in, it must be right next to where endings begin”. This became immensely motivating to me.
What is your monthly growth sense-check template?
Finally, no plan I have ever led followed the exact path I would have liked. Be ambitious in your approach and brave in your targeting and respectful of your current customer earners. Work relentlessly to grow your average invoice value and learn to love the metrics that report progress in a timely manner. This information is vital.
Lara Morgan is the straight talking, no nonsense entrepreneur and mother of three. Best selling author, Lara started her first business, Pacific Direct, aged 23. Pacific Direct manufactured and sold branded licensed toiletries and amenities to the hotel industry. Seventeen years later she sold 99% of the business for £20m.
She now focuses on investments in hospitality and toiletries related start-ups, as well as the growth of the Company Shortcuts business with Nicola Cook. She continues to inspire entrepreneurs to raise their aspirations, remove any self imposed barriers to growth and apply real strategy to enable their businesses to succeed.