Last week I had lunch with a former colleague, and she asked me how I had managed to start and grow a business in one of the worse recessions next to the Great Depression. I thought about it, and realized that I wasn’t doing anything different than I had done before.
See, I have learned to use these eight tactics for business growth which work in good times and bad times. When my husband and I had our real estate business, we did these. When I had my arts and crafts business, I did these. Now in my coaching practice, I am still doing these. I’ve learned that these eight tactics will grow your business no matter what the economy is doing.
1) Create multiple income streams to help your business during the months when cash flow is slow. These multiple income streams can be as diverse as a second business, an investment property, a book on Amazon Kindle, affiliate marketing programs, and royalties on your own books or artwork. You may even want to set up an ongoing referral program or sell your unwanted items on eBay. A great book to get ideas is Barbara Winter’s book, Making a Living Without a Job.
2) Before you leave your employer to go out on your own, have at least three months’ salary saved. I know that this isn’t easy, but at least try. If you can only save three months’ worth, do that but promise yourself you will work extra hard to make things happen.
3) Don’t go into business with too much debt. Get out of debt as much as you can before going into business. As a three-time entrepreneur, I’ve done it both ways. This way is much less stress. Plus you always want to be in a position to walk away from work. Enough said.
4) Be willing to make the sacrifices to go into business. If this means eating out less—do it. You may even find that all of those little “extras” that you enjoyed don’t mean as much as they once did. You are more fulfilled being your own boss and doing the work you love.
5) As your business grows, continue to invest your money in it. While it may be tempting to splurge on other luxuries or wants, continue to invest in your business. Remember if you feed your business, it will feed you.
6) If serendipity should happen, let it. If you find that the business you once started is now becoming something else, pay attention. There is probably a reason why this is happening. Another good book to read on discovering your life’s work and business is Barbara Sher’s book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was.
7) Figure out ways to operate your business in a cost-effective way. This includes both the selling of your services and the selling of your products. Usually I get on my soap box here and remind everyone NOT to buy every gadget and gizmo imaginable when you first start your business. Operating in the red every month in an attempt to impress potential clients doesn’t impress anyone. Especially the IRS. Clients will be more impressed with your innovation and will ask your help with how they may also save money and shave costs.
8) Enjoy the journey. Again I like what Barbara Winter says, “Enjoy your spaghetti days.” Once day you will look back on all of this and count it a blessing. A life lesson learned.
Well, there you have it! In business, you must have a plan. A vision. Without this your business will perish. People can spend enormous amounts of money planning a wedding or vacation. Why can’t you spend just as much time planning your business?