“What got you here won’t get you there!” ~ Marshall Goldsmith
Congratulations, you’ve grown your business and achieved a major milestone, one million in revenue. Well done! It’s a huge achievement. Less than 4% of business in America reach this goal.
Now that you’ve celebrated, let’s talk about your next steps. Do you want to keep growing? If so, there are some major changes ahead. The skills and practices that made it possible for you to bring in a million dollars this year aren’t going to scale when you are at two million or five million. You’re going to need to do some things differently.
I get it, change is hard. And delegating can be hard, too. But learning to accept these two things and implementing the five keys below can be the difference in growing your business or staying put right where you are.
1. Narrowing your offerings
When we start our businesses, we often start broad. We try doing lots of different things, throwing the proverbial spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. But as we start to see success and traction, it’s important to take a step back and narrow down our offerings. We need to look at selling one thing to one key market – our ideal target market.
To do this, find a service that your client knows that they need and that you know that you can deliver. Take the thing that you are best at doing, and that your customer gets the most value from and do more of that.
By offering the one thing your client needs the most, it will change everything for your business. Marketing and sales get much easier; more streamlined, simpler. You will be able to deliver services more reliably with fewer systems and processes so you can have a team do the majority of the work. This frees you up to focus on scaling the business.
Once you have built a track record in your business and as you look to grow, narrow your offerings down to things you are good at and that your target wants from you.
2. Raise your prices
When you start growing your business past the $1 million mark, there are a lot of costs to factor in. You will need to have more margins to pay for the things you’ll need to grow your business. For example, to attract better clients, you’ll need better marketing, a professional sales team, and an accounting team to manage these clients. All of these costs add to your overhead.
The best way to manage these new costs is to raise your prices.
This does more than bringing more money in. Raising your prices will help you attract clients with bigger, more urgent needs. When you have clients that need what you sell, they will appreciate your work more and are more likely to commit to the solution you are offering. Because the deliverables, the process, and the time spent are critical to them, they will be your best clients.
Raising your prices can help you filter out marginal clients that are not in your ideal client profile. When you have better clients that are getting great outcomes you’ll have better case studies and referrals.
3. Get yourself out of service delivery
If you are involved in delivering services, meeting with clients, and doing the project work, you will become a bottleneck. You become the reason your business is not growing.
Your hustle and drive can’t be the thing that helps your business grow past the $1 million mark. You will run out of energy.
Once you narrow down your service offerings, it’s easier to replicate your genius to the rest of your team members. This way you don’t have to be the person doing all aspects of the projects. There’s only one of you; you’re not scalable.
As your business grows, your focus needs to be on building your team. You need to recruit, train, and support your management team so that they get the work done! That will become your full-time job.
Now, this doesn’t happen overnight. You will have to work your way out of a job — but that’s got to be your goal.
4. New measures for your success
When you spend most of your time working full-time in your business, you get to the end of every day and can look back and say, “I did these things.” You had very tangible accomplishments.
To grow, it is important to evaluate yourself differently. How do you know that you’re doing a good job?
As you start to step away from the day to day of client work, your job will shift to creating the environment, systems, and processes to help your team get things done.
You will start seeing your worth by seeing other people deliver things. There might be days when you feel like you didn’t get anything done and spent the day in meetings. That could be your job today.
As you start leading a larger agency, you will start to measure your success not by what you get done, but by what your team accomplishes.
5. Focus your time on different things.
There are a lot of things that you know how to do, that you are really good at. Likely better than anyone on your team.
But as your business starts to grow, you may need to let go of some of those tasks.
The more on your calendar that needs to get done, the less time you have to look forward and develop longer-term strategies and plans. And you need to have the time and space in your schedule to think about where your business is going.
Free up your time to lead. Free up your time to work more on these higher-level, higher-value activities. And you might not feel as confident in these. But these are the skills you need to learn to get your business to the next level.
You need to spend some time on these higher-level, higher-value activities. Since these are new to you, they may feel uncomfortable, but these are the skills you will need to learn and become confident to get your business to the next level.
As you approach $1M in annual sales you will need to change the way you work and how you measure your contribution. This is a big transition for leaders and we can help you with that. Head over to our assessment to find the next right thing for you to focus on in your leadership.