Sustaining Growth for the Long-Term.
When you first started your creative agency, it was new and exciting. You built it up, created the systems that worked for you, and each new client added to your profits. Now, as your business is growing, you’ve found yourself asking how to create long-term success.
How does a growing business maintain momentum? Is itinancial acumen? Great systems? Top-knotch People? State-of-the-art business premises?
12 Leadership rules for a successful business
You want to know how to lead and sustain a successful business? I’ve put these rules together to help you.
Focus on business strategy and getting the most out of your team
In order to maintain your business growth you need to stop deliv. Your objective should be to focus on long-term thinking and business strategy. Micromanaging is self-defeating behavior. It destroys your time and your employees’ morale. You also risk burnout and losing your mojo. In short, get out of your own way to enable your business to grow faster.
Be present, not burned out
To be the leader your business needs, you must be present. You can’t be if you are burned out.
If you are tired, stressed, disinterested, reactive, or overwhelmed, it’s going to impact your leadership. which in turn impacts your team’s performance.
Entrepreneurial burnout is always caused by you – your passion leads you to overwork, and that can create a sense of being under-rewarded. Learn to recognize and stop business owner burnout. Make sure you rest and relax, eat well, and listen to your body. Trust others to do their jobs. Eliminate coffee.
Hire the right people – get the “A” team.
In those early days, you probably asked yourself, “How can we do this?” When we think “how” then we have only our own knowledge and experience to solve the problem! Shift your thought process. Start asking, “Who can I get to do this?”. This will force you to focus on hiring quality people into the right roles, and will bring new knowledge and experience to the table..
Develop a great management team
Understand that as you step away from the day-to-day business functions, you can’t hire someone like you. They don’t exist. Instead, develop a multi-faceted leadership team. People with specific expertise, who love what they do, and who will bring focus to every part of your business for you. Best of all? If one leaves, you won’t suddenly need to pick up all the work you used to do. In short – delegate and elevate.
Deliver consistently high-quality services that deliver value to your clients
With the right team in place and a strategic focus on your business, you should be able to deliver high-quality, value services to your clients. And do so consistently. You know what this delivers to you? A great reputation, referrals, and revenue growth.
Understand the business you are in
Only by understanding what type of creative agency you are can you connect and serve your clients best. Are you a pharmacist, nurse, brain surgeon, or psychotherapist? Confused? The analogies come from one of my favorite books, ‘The Anatomy of a Consulting Firm’ by David Maister. You’ll understand what I’m talking about by reading my article, ‘Growth Strategies for Professional Services Firms – How to Scale Your Creative Agency’.
Create a predictable process for obtaining new clients
If you don’t have a process that delivers good clients – clients who value your work, pay you on time, and tell other people about you- your success will be short-lived.
Create a predictable process for building client service capabilities
You need a great team to deliver great service, but you must balance business development and talent acquisition and development. Building your service capabilities is a strategic necessity, and you need a process to deliver consistently. Have a hiring checklist. Invest in training and development. Hire slowly, and fire quickly.
Work on your business, not in your business
I’m reiterating the need for you to work more strategically because it is so crucial to your success. Stop being an individual contributor, even as you add new service. Be the leader your business needs.
The only person holding you back is you. Involvement is how you measure quality. What you do directly for clients is how you value yourself. Get over yourself! Let your people do what they are good at. Work on the business, not in the business.
Remain in control without being controlling
How do you remain in control without micromanaging and demoralizing your employees? Create a business dashboard, to which all relevant data is added by others. Like when you’re driving your car, this dashboard will give you a real-time overview of what is going on in all parts of your business.
Your dashboard will give you a high-level view of your business performance, enabling you to bring your experience and knowledge to bear where it’s most needed.
Remain focused on long-term thinking to be a proactive leader
Lead your business like you drive your car. By looking ahead. This allows you to anticipate the future and navigate potholes, traffic, parked cars, and so on, and adjust direction to avoid them.
It’s the same when leading a business. Your long-term focus will enable you to lead proactively, smoothing the journey toward your business goals.
Every agency I have worked with has experienced the U-curve – a three-stage curve that moves from the initial high-profit business through a fall in profits as growth begins, then to a plateau of profitability, before the real profits growth kicks in.
Throughout this U-curve, you must remain resilient. If you don’t, you’ll be tempted to revert to where you started. If you do this, you’ll be going back to where it sucked before – and you’ll miss the growth and profits that will deliver long-term success.
Are you ready to lead your next stage of growth?
These 12 rules will help you navigate your course to your business goals. However, how you must apply them depends upon where you are on the growth path. So, the first thing to do is to take the growth phase assessment.
In only a couple of minutes, you’ll have a clear description of which phase of growth your business is in – and the insight into how to accelerate your growth through the next stage successfully.