Every business wants to grow, but sometimes it feels like only a select few have figured out the formula for how to do it. The truth is there isn’t one single formula for achieving growth. Rather, there are a lot of different things you need to focus on.
Putting out high quality products helps because it builds trust with your customers and encourages them to order more from you and refer others to you. Being marketing savvy also helps because it gets your name in front of more clients. Hiring smart and skilled employees can also ramp up your growth.
However, you probably already know that good service, smart marketing, and quality employees are key components of any growth plan. Some other growth tactics aren’t as obvious. Here are three lesser-known tactics we’ve seen shops implement to achieve substantial growth in their business:
Focus on a key demographic, industry, or even company.
Chances are good that there’s one thing you do really, really well. Maybe it’s a part that you produce. Maybe it’s a process that you’ve mastered. Maybe you’re great at making replacement parts for a specific manufacturer or piece of equipment.
You may be able to accelerate growth by specifically focusing on that one product or process. At first glance, this may seem counter-intuitive. After all, how can you grow if you limit your market?
The truth is that you’ll be more likely to win business if you have a competitive advantage. You clearly have an advantage in that one specific product. While you may be good or competent with other products, do you really have an advantage in those areas? If not, what’s the likelihood that you’ll win a substantial amount of business?
Focus your efforts on what you do best. You’ll win a higher percentage of jobs and you’ll be more efficient. That will allow you to grow your business and expand into other areas.
Turn leads away.
Yes, that’s right. One effective way to grow is to turn some of your leads away. Again, that probably seems like a bad idea. Surely, if you want to grow, you have to have as many leads as possible, right?
Here’s the problem, though. Think about what percentage of your “leads” turn into real business. How many just fade away with no traction or revenue? If you’re like a many shops, you probably have a lot of leads that go nowhere.
This is true in all businesses. A lot of leads aren’t real leads at all. They’re tire-kickers. They’re curious about pricing but have no interest in doing anything. Or their pricing expectations may be completely out of line with reality. Or they may be getting your best quote to negotiate a better deal from their current vendor.
You then spend time sending emails, making phone calls, and putting together proposals for “leads” that are never going to go anywhere. That’s time you could spend pursuing real business.
Invest some time upfront qualifying your leads. Ask about their budget. Ask them when they plan on making a decision. Find out who the decision maker is and make sure you’re in contact with him or her.
Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions. A little bit of pre-qualification will save you a lot of time and frustration with leads who will never result in business. Then you can focus your energy on the leads that really matter.
Invest in your employees and your process.
Many business owners think the key to growth lies in getting more customers. While customer acquisition is important, what happens in your own building may be even more important. If your business isn’t built for growth, it won’t matter how many customers you acquire. An inefficient shop will collapse under an avalanche of new business.
To grow effectively and efficiently, you need a business that you can scale. That means that jobs move seamlessly through your shop on a disciplined and documented schedule. It means that you can delegate more and more responsibility to your workers because they’re skilled and well-trained. It means you have a system in place to quickly manage every aspect of your business.
Solid job shop software that includes an ERP system is a good first step toward making your business scalable. Investing in your employees through training is another important step. Again, this tactic may require an investment on your part, but you will more than recoup that investment over time.
There’s nothing magic about achieving growth. You have to focus on quality and customer service. You have to market yourself to the right customers for your shop. And you need to make sure your shop is internally built for success. If you do those things, growth is inevitable.
Learn how job shop software can help you grow your shop. Sign up for a personal demo of the E2 Shop System today. Let an E2 Expert walk you through our software and see if E2 is right for you.