a better way to grow

A better way to grow [PMP #227]

NOTE: Even if you’re not a business owner, I encourage you to read this post if you’d like to adopt a mindset focussed on efficiency and achieving results with less work.

Most businesses want to grow revenue each year. So the business creates new products, conducts marketing campaigns and does everything it can to increase sales. But this isn’t the only way to grow.

Instead of focusing on revenue, growth can also be achieved by improving efficiency.

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What if instead of earning more money the business generated the same sales with fewer inputs? Less staff, hours worked and lower costs.

If I said to you: “Your business can only earn $1 million this year” it would completely change your strategy. Instead of focussing on marketing or product development, you would work out how to generate this profit with as few inputs as possible.Click To Tweet

Here’s a question to consider: “Would you rather make the same amount you did last year for 25% less work or do the same hours and earn 25% more?”. Everyone’s situation is different but I bet a significant percentage of people would choose the first option.

However, in my experience, not enough businesses make efficiency part of their growth strategy.

Without improving efficiency, the business may even reach a point where there’s a limit as to how much it can grow. For instance, a marketing agency that has 20 clients may only be able to grow and take on more work if it makes its existing process more efficient.

After reading Paul Jarvis’s book, Company of One (here’s my book summary), I switched from focussing on growing revenue to growing efficiency. Whenever I make changes to my business, I make decisions based on time. I ask myself questions like:

  • How can I earn the same revenue as last month with fewer hours?
  • What parts of my process can I automate to reduce manual work?
  • Can I outsource this to someone else and free up my time?

The irony here is that despite not focussing on money, revenue has continued to grow anyway. Revenue growth is a byproduct of efficiency.

Every business owner needs to make time to work ON their business. That’s where improving your use of tools like Asana and Pipedrive can be time very well spent. Like I said in last week’s post, instead of kicking the can down the road you should be taking the time to automate or eliminate parts of your work. Yes, it sucks to take time out of working IN your business, but in the long run, it’s going to save you time and allow you to grow more.

Tim Ferriss talks about this in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek. He asks the reader questions like:

  • “If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day, what would you do?”
  • “If you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week, what would you do?”
  • “If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time-consuming activities, what would you remove?”
  • “What are the top three activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I’ve been productive?”

Whether you’re a business owner or not, analysing your work through this lens is a great way of growing to the point where you’re achieving the same result for less work. And doesn’t that sound like something worth trying to achieve?

I love when clients say those magic words: “This is going to save me so much time!”. Knowing that someone has been given the gift of time is a wonderful feeling (and far more exciting than money in my opinion).