Building a business is grueling and there are many things that will distract you from your original intent. While growth and change is good, there are some “traps” that you can fall into.
As your business grows you will be pulled in a thousand directions, more often than not you will end up serving functions that are not your core strengths.
You may also step outside of your normal realm of business to appease a client or go after some “easy” money. All of this will defocus you and your business, and in no time at all this can start a downward spiral of both financial and reputational damage.
How do you avoid these traps?
Play to your strengths
Every entrepreneur has a particular strength (or two) that has contributed to the success of the business. Often what lands up happening is that you take on different functions to ensure the business is managed and clients are serviced. But these functions detract you from what you are really good at.
If you are very effective at sales and marketing or finance or product development then do that, because that’s what got you there!
You don’t have to be good at everything, rather surround yourself with other people that are good at the things you are not. Diversity is strength! Jack Welsh has always been a firm believer in a strong management team and this strategy enabled him to build his empire.
Focus on your competitive edge
Focus on your competitive advantage or value proposition and build on that! To get ahead and stay ahead you need to be clear and have a laser sharp focus.
That focus should always be playing to your company’s strengths – your competitive edge. And while you focus, never be afraid to fail. Failing is learning but learn fast and turn the lessons into actions.
Add more value to your customers
I believe to expand on your business you need to look at it like a series of rings from small too big.
You start at the smallest ring and then when you are ready, take one small step to the next ring. This step should be the next logical complementary product or service.
The more complementary the better, as this will allow you to serve your existing base of clients on the back of an existing trusted relationship.
Offering more value to new and existing clients creates not only more revenue but greater loyalty. The less you are entrenched in your customer’s business, the easier it is for them to move to the competition.
Clear your headspace
In order to understand your customer’s needs and keep an eye on the market, you need to take a step back and assess from time-to-time.
Being too operational and burning yourself out, is not a long term success strategy. You will get some of your best ideas when you take a step back from the business and get some headspace.
Having a balanced life isn’t a suggestion, it’s an absolute necessity. If your management can’t run the business for a week while you are away, then there’s your first problem to fix.