Rules to Grow

Just about everyone wants to grow their business, so here are some rules to take on board to make it happen.

Rule 1: Make yourself a leader
When you own and/or run a business, you are a leader. The strongest lessons you will teach your staff are by example. If you yell at them they will yell at each other and even at customers. Clearly it would be a smart idea to read books such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and other publications that teach you how to be a good leader.

Rule 2: Plan, plan, plan
To grow a business, you need to have some way of seeing its future success. This means you must have a business plan. You need to put your growth plans on paper to test their viability. You must also have a comprehensive sales and marketing plan within your business plan. Have an objective analysis of your business done. Why are you in business?

The most obvious answer to this is you want to make money, but it’s good to have a global look at your operation to ensure that you are really bringing in enough profit to justify the hard slog. And if you are, but you’re not enjoying your work, it could be time to rethink your role.

Rule 3: One step ahead
The most successful Australian rugby union coach ever, Rod Macqueen, a successful business owner in his own right, insists that his football and business success was inextricably linked to staying one step ahead. Like business, football is unbelievably competitive. To get an edge on your rivals, you must pursue training, consult experts and read what the winner on the cutting edge are up to.

Rule 4: Systemise your business
Implement best practice and quality control methods and systemise your business. What would happen if you were run over by a car? If your business is systemised it could run on auto pilot. Systems also give certainty to your staff. It makes them more accountable.

Rule 5: Have a sophisticated financial control system
Remember what happened to the dot-coms back in April 2000? The experts after the crash have outlined the following reasons for the dot-com disaster:
o Flawed business plans
o Overambitious marketing plans
o Too much cash being spent
o Too many promises
o Lack of evidence that there will be positive cash flow within a few years of starting

Before any – look at:
o your management
o your business growth model

You will need to reinvest profits into your business and the best way to do this is from profits reinvested rather than borrowings. It reduces your debt dependence.

Rule 6: Tax strategies
The bigger your business grows the more you will need to have a sound taxation strategy. This could include setting up your own super fund in order to provide a tax effective way of planning for your retirement somewhere out in the wild blue yonder. Sensible tax planning is the way to
go but this means setting aside time to work through the issues with your accountant and/or financial controller.

Rule 7: E-commerce
Set up your business so you can make money while you sleep – have an e-commerce strategy.

Rule 8: Train your human resources
Author and speaker Doug Malouf says stripped down to the essentials, all staff training starts with self. Before you can communicate what you want, you must be clear in your own mind about what you want. You must communicate it clearly, with no room for misunderstandings. Finally, you must work out the most rewarding way for the employee and you to work together to achieve the desired objectives.

Clear objectives, constancy and rewards equal happy staff and happy management. Make your organisation a laboratory for your own learning and development; do a lot of experimenting in your company. Constantly try new technologies, new ways to sell, new ways to organise and then see what works.

Rule 9: Have a risk management strategy for the business & you
Do a health check of yourself, because if you don’t look after yourself more than likely your business will suffer and you will never truly enjoy the fruits of your own labour. You must have regular check ups, watch your diet and exercise regularly. This is not just airy-fairy talk — it’s absolutely essential. I lost my own dad when he was only 55 because he worked too hard and kept all his stress inside.

Rule 10: Market Yourself
For anyone too shy to know that good marketing is the essential ingredient for business success, then my advice is take courses in self esteem and personal development. You must market your business – and this requires having a sound marketing plan to accompany your business plan.

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