Sometimes you just feel stuck
Businesses that rely on clients and customers reach a cap where it becomes difficult to sustain growth. Your staff are overworked, and so are you. You don’t have the time to approach things strategically like you used to. And you can’t put your finger on it, but you know that things aren’t as efficient as they used to be. There’s work being repeated, and customer satisfaction isn’t where it should be.
The fact is, your staff are there to “do a job”. And even the best staff are going to focus on that – it’s why they are there. But at this point you’re needing partners more than staff. You need people who are invested in your business, or at least in a product or service that you’re offering. There’s a few ways to incentivise staff to focus on things like that – profit sharing and performance based bonuses etc. But you want to work with people who have a vision for growth, who are capable of seeing the bigger picture and working out the strategy to achieve their lofty ambitions. Because that’s who you are too – otherwise you wouldn’t have started what you did, or grown it to where it’s at now.
When you’re growing your business, there comes a point where you need to stop chasing clients and start pursuing something more meaningful.
It’s all about relationships
I was reminded recently by one of my clients that relationship is the most important thing in business. Trust, confidence, commitment, integrity – these are all foundations of a healthy working relationship.
Clients and customers are the bread and butter of most small businesses, but they all have a natural ending built into the transaction. You finish the project, or you complete the sale and hand over the products. But that’s it. You might get a referral or recommendation, but how do you build something lasting?
Long term success through partnerships
As Covey describes in his best selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” it’s important to start with the end in mind. So what do you do if you don’t want things to end? That’s when the relationship becomes an end in itself. That’s where we can choose to focus more on building something together than trying to keep pushing the boulder up the hill. We need to shift focus and start looking at the bigger picture. We need to start pursuing relationships. Partnerships that will continue to grow and benefit both sides.
Think about how all those multi-level marketing success stories happen. They don’t get to the top by selling the product, but by selling the opportunity and building a team. It’s that exponential growth we want to see, built right into their business model.
So your staff may or may not be able to fill that role – so consider looking outside your own business and find the opportunities around you. Link up with local businesses and share your experience, build something new together. Pool your resources to try something different and see where you can take it. Of course, you don’t want to neglect your existing operations, but if you want to experience the rush of new growth again, you’re going to need to do something new. And with your existing responsibility, you probably can’t do it all on your own.
Opportunities are endless
There are opportunities everywhere – people are looking for partners who they can work with, and they’re willing to share the spoils of growth. You’ll see it on every episode of Shark Tank. You might not feel like you’re a shark (and you don’t have to be), but you can still offer something to early stage entrepreneurs that they don’t have – experience.
You may have great staff and wonderful clients. And that’s awesome. But if you want to reach new heights, you’ve got to focus on building partnerships.