Have you ever heard the story of Sisyphus?
In Greek mythology, he was the king of Ephyra and was punished for his deceitfulness and cockiness. His punishment? He was forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it fall back down. And he had to do this over and over again until the end of eternity.
Do you ever feel like you’re doomed to repeat the same business struggles again and again? Do you see the opportunities, but can’t move your business quickly enough to seize them? Do you get into one project only to have your attention diverted to a crisis somewhere else? Are you beginning to wonder how much longer you can keep this going?
I’ve been there. And the steps that I’ve taken, I now help my clients, friends, and family take to breakthrough to the next level of efficiency, growth, and profitability. I’d like to share these benefits with you.
There are 3 signs that I’ve seen that indicate you need a new strategy in your business.
1. Sales Don’t Scale
A client of mind, Dennis had a 12-year-old business that relied on word of mouth to make the phone ring. They had never done any advertising, but they were always busy so they never worried about it. He got comfortable with the level they were at.
So he was unprepared when newer generations referred people less and less. His referrals were going to the firms that were leveraging Facebook, Yelp and other hyper-local tools to generate inbound calls and clicks.
If you aren’t clear on where your sales come from, and you can’t "turn up the dial” on the activities or advertising that lead to predictable sales then you are at risk. Cultural changes, new competitors, economic shifts are all threats that affect those businesses who aren’t in the driver seat of their sales. You can get intentional about scaling sales by measuring and testing outreach and advertising tactics.
After a shift in strategy to focus on sales, Dennis had the formula in place to increase sales and scale. He’s now up 39% year over year and in the perfect position to keep growing as he continues to build out his team.
2. You Know You’re Inefficient
One client, Holly, is an operations executive at a photography studio chain. They have a few locations and are up to 20 employees. They started the business a couple of years ago and played the startup game beautifully. The problem was they were using off-the-shelf software and had out-grown it. New team members struggled to learn the system. Simple tasks took much longer than necessary to execute.
They were wasting thousands of dollars every month on employee turnover and wasted time. Holly knew that she had to do something, but they had been so focused on growing that they didn’t have time to study efficiency or put better systems in place.
While startups often feel they *need to be inefficient* to get functions and projects off the ground, at some point business operations have to get tightened. This process can be uncomfortable, and it usually takes lots of time to get a system working. The risks of it not working are both internal and external. At certain levels of growth, you can be loosing a lot of money with inefficient systems and you’re sitting pray for a competitor who is willing to focus on efficiency.
Holly did focus on efficiency though. With a strategy change, they made some strategic investments on custom development of software (>$5k actually). Within a month their employee retention was substantially better. Even more impressive, their customer service calls were down 70%. The changes they made even had an impact on sales, their conversion ratio was up 25%.
3. New Growth Creates Worry
I have a good friend, Andrew. He owns a landscape business that he built from the ground up. They’ve been doing great for years, growing by double digits or more. The trouble is that now Andrew at a size where he doesn’t want to hire more layers of management, but he and his wife know that he can’t keep working at the pace he has been going.
He needs a new strategy for how to manage and continue to scale. Scaling used to be difficult, but with the right tools, tactics and strategy growth becomes worry-free. Andrew is right on the edge of making this shift from struggling over to an easier, more pragmatic strategy.
The key here, just as with the other signs is strategy.
Strategy means getting intentional about the business results you want and choosing the tactics and methods that will get you there.
Strategy requires focus but can get you to whatever goals you’ve been having.
Strategy, more than any other business tactic, can leapfrog you to the next level.
Mastering the habit of strategy can transform you from “working-for-yourself” to “profitable business owner” quicker than anything else in the world.
What about you? Are you using any particular strategy? How will you know when you need a new strategy to get you where you want to go?