7 Practical Steps for Growing Your Business Profitably
Technology integration business owners can often be characterized as ambitious and idealistic individuals who pursue their vision of success with relentless determination. But soon after the initial rush of creating and maintaining a sustainable business comes the inevitable; many small business owners get mired in the weeds of running day to day operations and the visions they had of creating the prosperous cash-cow they anticipated soon give way to merely keeping the business afloat and staying busy. So how can technology integration companies break this cycle and start maximizing profitable growth? Here are 7 practical steps:
1) Make growth a priority
Growing a business isn’t about seeing how many more hours you are physically able to put in each day. It’s about making intelligent, strategic decisions to better yourself and your business through actionable planning. If growth is a desire for your business, you need to dedicate the appropriate amount of time to plan accordingly.
2) Know your organization inside and out
The old adage, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been” certainly holds true for small businesses and technology integrators are no exception. In order to grow effectively, you need to maximize your strengths while being cognizant of looming competition and working to improve weaknesses. Fortunately, there are several planning tools that are available that can make this a rather painless endeavor. One such method is by performing a SWOT Analysis. This structured planning method allows you to intimately analyze your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Taking the time to perform this exercise can yield valuable insights that can help prepare you to take your vision to the next level.
3) Crunch the numbers (and then keep crunching)
Having an intimate knowledge of your business’ financials is an essential part of any profitable growth strategy. This should include (at the very least) knowing profitability margins on both a gross and net level. Once you have a solid understanding of the principal metrics by which you are measuring your company’s success, it’s prudent to dig a little deeper. By fully diving into job costing and carefully reviewing expenditures, you may be able to find pockets of inefficiencies that could allow you to immediately take steps to increase profitability. You’ll also begin to develop the operational efficiencies you’ll need to support a larger, growth-oriented operation.
4) Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T.
The process of setting goals is often where imagination and reality collide. Many technology integrators want to arbitrarily “double” their sales year over year but usually do not have a proper accounting of the resources and investment criteria necessary to facilitate that sort of growth. Your goals should certainly take into consideration your personal plans for success, but should also consider other factors such as the rate of growth for the industry and the availability of additional resources (if needed). A useful guideline when setting goals is to incorporate a S.M.A.R.T. criteria; that is, creating goals that are specific, measureable, assignable, realistic and time-related.
5) Ensure the proper systems are in place
Trying to grow your sales by 30%? You’ll need to make sure your business has the proper operational systems in place in order to facilitate that your desired rate of growth. This is, of course, also applicable to all aspects of your organization including staffing, marketing, and back-office support.
6) Measure, track & analyze
Once you’ve established goals and have an actionable operational system in place, it’s important to periodically track your organization’s progress and to adjust activities accordingly. If you’re finding yourself off-target, your plan for growth should have contingencies in place that allow for corrective actions to be taken.
7) Don’t be afraid to do things differently
Generating profitable growth often involves employing new, previously unexplored strategies to facilitate more sales, referrals and inbound leads. Many integrators across the country have realized the value that a professional online presence brings and have engaged One Firefly to help build a dynamic, lead-generating platform through the use of content marketing. Indeed, a change in outcome is often preceded by change in strategy, so whether it’s content marketing or a new website, it’s important to consider new strategies in your plans for growth.
Author: Taylor Whipple
Title: Operations Manager
About: As Operations Manager at One Firefly, Taylor is responsible for overseeing the organization's financial and production management as well as human resources. An MBA graduate from Texas Tech University and a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), Taylor spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa before managing operations at several organizations in Los Angeles prior to joining One Firefly. When not glued to spreadsheets and managing various projects, he enjoys playing competitive water polo and supporting Texas Tech Red Raider football.