So what are the 5 things you need to nail to have confidence that your business will go from strength to strength.
1) Your business is more important than your clients.
Your clients don’t come 1st. You do! If you and your business are not thriving then you will not be able to serve your clients. It’s as simple as that.
You may think you’re doing the right thing by constantly prioritising your client work over your business development activity but you’re not.
If you want to succeed you need to create the space to grow your business.
Too busy to grow = I’m letting my business die!
2) Understand your real capacity
I bet running your business takes longer than you expected. Am I right? This restricts the amount of time you have to deliver your billable hours. This in turn makes you work longer and longer days because you have to deliver the hours, while still running your business, so you can pay the bills. Right?
Now you know how much time it takes to run your business you need to be realistic about the number of billable hours you can deliver a month. Running yourself into the ground is not sustainable so you need to break out of that groove and come up with a manageable delivery plan.
Once you know how many hours you can produce you can adjust your pricing strategy accordingly. Any beliefs you have about the maximum you can charge are just that, beliefs! Don’t get hung up on them. You can increase your fees as long as you can express the value that you deliver. It’s easier to do than you think!
3) Set clear boundaries
Just like children and pets, you need to have boundaries in place to manage your clients.
At the moment there’s a good chance that you feel your clients greatly reduce your productivity by interrupting you with phone calls and emails. You have control of these interruptions.
It’s you that allows the interruptions to occur not them! You have the power to decide how quickly you’ll respond to them so it’s time to set out the rules. You get to decide whether you want to respond to emails out of hours. You get to decide what time you are available for meetings.
The more you can explain the best way of working with you, the more your clients will work to it. It really is that simple!
4) Manage that scope
I love this one. Scope creep is a very common challenge for lots of service businesses.
Do you have clients that describe a project to you, you quote for it, they agree to your price, you start work and then they increase the scope? You, as you’re committed to delivering a great service to your client, agree to the new scope without changing your price. Sound familiar?
Net result is that you decrease your profitability as you’ve just agreed to work harder/longer for the same amount of money.
STOP! Scope creep is actually your friend. By effectively managing scope creep you can generate additional revenue & profit and still deliver a great service.
Remember the answer is not always Yes!
5) Break free of being a well-kept secret
Most businesses struggle to hit their growth targets because they are a well-kept secret.
The maths is easy on this…the more people that know you exist, the more likely it is that you’ll gain new business.
Now that you know your business is more important than your clients, you can carve out the time to grow it.
Book yourself some business development time every week. Set out a marketing plan and go to it!
Growing your business takes action. What are you going to do today to grow yours?