𝗢𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗦𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀
Updated: May 4
You’re busy, so let’s discuss ways to maximize productivity, pricing, finance, and business operations given the new landscape.
Business growth is more about when to say “no”. Find and persistently reinforce what works and shut out the rest.
Evaluate Your Productivity
Good habits have a way of turning into bad habits as your priorities shift. Review your work behaviors regularly to make sure you’re attuned to the right areas.
List your current priorities in terms of how to take the company to the next level. Then, make sure you spend your time and energy on those priorities.
Delegate where possible so you can focus where needed. Effective delegation will not only offload responsibility but will also encourage you to define the objectives, measures, and reports of success—a useful exercise for you and others.
Rebuild your calendar every quarter. Question every recurring meeting, appointment, and task in your calendar and for the team. Most people are tempted to add work, but you would benefit from removing less-valuable activities.
“To attain wisdom, subtract things every day.”
– Lao Tzu
Update Your Pricing
Most startups and small businesses undervalue their offerings. Price your offerings based on value to customers, not only on the cost to you or what your competitors are charging (especially if you have a distinct value):
Determine your margins, focus resources on valuable deals, and dismiss outlying customers.*
Set your prices based on market demand and customers’ needs rather than anchoring them to internal costs.**
Run experiments where you offer customers preferred pricing, discounts, or referral bonuses and measure your returns.**
Rebuild the Financial Model
Besides reviewing the fundamentals (e.g., runway, growth, and profitability), also consider the following:
Where do you want to invest and where should you cut back costs?
How can others help you grow? Ask employees for ways to improve, vendors for better terms, and great clients for referrals.
What resources will you need to scale and reach the next level? You may not be able to afford them yet, but keep a running list and start some introductory conversations.
Scale Business Operations
Hopefully, you are growing, but sometimes you may need to scale down. For example, the market may have cooled, you may have lost some customers, or your next funding round may be taking longer than expected.
Whether you need to scale up or down, focus on learning and adjusting as needed. Here are some tips based on different functional areas:
Marketing. Scrutinize metrics. Remove poor campaigns and double down on effective ones. While your branding should be consistent, perform A/B testing and other analytics to keep improving and staying relevant.***
Client Services. Review the number and severity of client issues, foster better retention, and encourage upsells and referrals. To positively impact those measures, ensure your objectives include increasing quality, clarifying expectations, and improving communication.
Sales. Dive into the pipeline, velocity, and activities. You want their efforts and outcomes aligned with growing the company. Review your incentives to ensure they encourage the right behaviors and give guidance such as training, deal reviews, and mentorship.
People Operations. Whether you are expanding or contracting the team, weigh all of your resources carefully. If you are exploring a leadership role, consider a fractional resource to verify the need and impact of the position. If you have people on the team who are not contributing to company objectives, help them to transition either within your company or away.
The return on investment for all of these areas should be measurable.
Explore New Ways to Grow
To grow and learn, consider these approaches:
Test new partnerships to determine if their company values and customer bases align. Before drafting a contract, find ways to collaborate on specific deals or share resources to pilot the partnership.
Talk with customers and prospects to learn their needs. Understand why they want to buy your product and services and be open to the idea that they may be trying to solve problems you didn’t anticipate.
Facilitate sessions that allow people to brainstorm. The only rules are to not discuss execution and to not criticize suggestions. Utilize future meetings to evaluate, prioritize, and implement ideas.
Pro Tip: Foster and formalize innovation as a way to reinforce feedback cycles and to keep learning how to improve.****
Key Takeaway: Constantly set, measure, and review milestones across all functional areas to inform and drive success.
Design by Steve Johnson who can be found here.
𝗦𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗲: 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗣𝗲𝗮𝗸 includes over 130 independent articles across 500 pages including leadership, growth, sales, marketing, operations, finance, and teams. In five minutes, gain invaluable insights into the best methods and practical options to activate your dreams.
* See the article To Move Forward, Fire a Client for more information.
** See the article Pricing – Icarus and Innovation for more information.
*** See the articles Marketing Analytics Equate to Growth and Science Drives Powerful Results, or A/B Testing Wins! for more information.
**** See the article Go Everywhere: Foster Innovation for more information.