How I’ve grown my business without focussing on growth

How I’ve grown my business without focussing on growth [PMP #260]

I was recently chatting to a good friend of mine who’s also a business owner who wanted to know how I’m growing my business. We talked about how I package my consulting services, how I get leads, all the typical stuff. At one point in the conversation I said the following:

“I haven’t had a sales target in years. I’m not actively trying to grow my business. My #1 goal is efficiency. I just want to make the business operate more efficiently and it just so happens that the bi-product of that is growth”

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This mindset has been the guiding philosophy behind all the major decisions I’ve made over the last few years.

Re-packaging my services » For example, a few years ago I completely re-invented and re-packaged how I deliver my Asana and Pipedrive consulting options. Instead of working on an hourly or project by project basis, I created my Master Asana and Pipedrive programs which consist of online video training, group coaching and one-on-one consulting sessions. By packaging my services this way, I can help clients more efficiently. They don't have to wait 2-3 weeks to get help from me as they have access to videos and group calls that will answer their questions immediately. The nice side affect of this is that I can service more clients at once and generate more sales (even though that wasn’t the goal).

Hiring contractors » I was apprehensive about hiring sub-contractors for years. But I ultimately came around to the idea as I saw it as a way of delivering our service more efficiently and would save me time as I’m not the only person doing the work. Again, a useful bi-product of this is that I’m no longer the bottle neck and I can spend more time marketing the business which ultimately lead to revenue growth.

Tools and services » Whenever I find a tool or service that can help me to do a job more efficiently, I usually get it. Whether it’s using TextExpander to send emails using a template, or using Zapier to automate a process in my business, the tools I use are the cost of doing business. My average monthly spend for all the tools I use is around USD$950/month (a third of that is for my email marketing software, ConvertKit). I don’t have to deal with physical products, inventory management, manufacturing, delivery or anything like that. For an information business like mine, it’s a small price to pay for increased efficiency.

By focussing on efficiency, my business benefits in a few ways:

  • If we can service clients in less time, we can increase our capacity and handle more customers at once.
  • By freeing up my time and removing myself as the bottleneck, I can spend more time on marketing the business and generating leads.
  • Our clients are happier as they’re not waiting as long to get help and are getting to where they want to be in less time. This leads to more referrals and a higher customer lifetime value.
  • As a business owner, I’m not burning out and don’t have to work more than 40 hours per week.

My goal has always just been to find opportunities to make the business more efficient. If the business grows as a result, I’ll take it as a bonus but it’s not why I care about efficiency.

If you’re a business owner reading this wondering how you can do this. You have to start by making time to work ON your business. That literally means carving out time on your calendar to work on the business. For example, I make sure I can’t be booked on a Wednesday giving me plenty of time work on on business systems and projects. So many business owners I talk to spend all their time working IN their business but they’re not willing to stop and make time to make the business more efficient (even though they know it’ll make their life easier). My friend Kia recently made a video about this exact issue. You have to be willing to make a short-term sacrifice in order to benefit over the long-run.