All the small business economic trends according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) seem to be pointing to the fact that the economy is picking up.  And, businesses are beginning to focus on growing again.

Have you built your growth plan?  Or, have you begun to work through the mechanics to put that plan together?  If not or even if you have, here are 3 critical points you must consider to get growth started fast!

Do You Have Excess Capacity to Sell?

First and foremost you have to ask if you can handle additional sales and if so how much?  Too often small business owners don’t understand the capacity of the business.  That is how much more business they can handle before they have to add more people, equipment, and/or facility space.  As a result, they over sell the capabilities and do more harm to their business and reputation.

In a previous post titled Knowing Your Operational Capacity: Avoid Blowing Your Revenue Engine I went into much detail on this subject. If you’re not sure of your business capacity that post will walk you through the simple calculations to understand this critical number for you company.

Develop a Sales Plan to Sell Excess Capacity

Once you know how much capacity you have, now you can begin the next step in the process – figuring out how to grow your sales to maximize your excess capacity.  Your sales goal is easy.  Sell your excess capacity.  You just need to figure out how many additional sales are needed to do that and put a game plan together to begin directing your team to accomplish that.

Once again, this is a topic of an earlier post titled Maximize Revenue by Selling Your Excess Capacity.  This post will take you through the simple calculations to understand exactly what you and your sales team need to accomplish so that you can develop your sales plan in more detail.

Look for opportunities in all the usual places like your current client, recent prospects that didn’t buy, old clients that have maybe gone elsewhere, and referrals from people in you and your sales teams’ network.

But, this sales approach will only get you started.  If you really want sustainable growth that is ongoing your plan needs to go one step further and address lead generation which is a function of your marketing efforts.

How Does Marketing Need to Change to Support the Sales Plan

Now, some small business owners will say “lead generation” is my sales teams’ responsibility.  And while this is not really wrong, I always question if this is a good use of your sales teams’ time!  Good sales people are good at closing deals NOT finding the deal to close.  If you have an good marketing plan your marketing should be creating leads for your sales team, so that they can focus on closing deals!

The reason many small business are currently struggling to get going again after the downturn of the past few years is because the marketing landscape has shift.  With social media and online search capability the old method that once worked, don’t work anymore.  It may mean shifting your budget from Yellow Pages to online pay per click advertising.  Or spending money on a new website that has been search engine optimized (SEO) so you get found online the way most people look for products and services today.

If you aren’t really sure where to get started shoot me an email.  Our strategic marketing partners are experts in all facets of both new and traditional marketing and can help you and your business with the transition.

Get Your Business Growing Again

The signs are out there, the economy is picking back up again.  It’s time to start stoking the engine and get the business growing again.  So, make sure that you:

  1. Know what capacity you currently have with which to grow.
  2. Build a sales plan to fill that additional capacity using quick win opportunities.
  3. Modify your marketing plan for lead generation to maximize your marketing budget using tradition and new marketing tactics where applicable.

If you need help figuring it out then take a look at how you can make business management simplified.  You will be able to figure out all the factors revealed in this post.

If you have already started this process, how did you get started?  Have you begun seeing increased growth as a result of your actions?  If not, why?  If so, what aspects of these 3 steps did you apply to your specific situation.