Can Customers Slow the Growth of Your Business?
I know the very idea that customers can slow down the growth of your company sounds crazy.
After all, the goal of having a business is to get more clients to increase our profits and make a bigger difference in the world. That’s why we spend so much time increasing the number of unique visitors to our sites, growing our list of subscribers, and promoting our products and services.
But there’s a painful reality many of us face when we finally start landing more customers, and all too often, we force ourselves to suffer through it in silence.
What is it?
Here’s what happens.
As we attract new clients, the number of things we’re responsible for overseeing increases exponentially. Then, all of a sudden, we hit a wall.
We cherish our customers and want to go the extra mile for them.
However, given all our responsibilities, it’s just not really feasible to do more. . .even though that’s what we insist on doing until we crash into the wall of our upper limit. . .until we start missing deadlines, appointments, and opportunities for growth.
Trust me. I know what it’s like.
Last summer, I was zooming along and a number of clients came on board all at once. I was thrilled!
Unfortunately, my happiness didn’t last for long. As I started working on their projects, I started freaking out. I was totally maxed out.
I couldn’t handle all the marketing activities and the needs of my existing customers while continuing to grow my business.
It was impossible to do everything. This fact was devastating. Here I was helping my clients take themselves to the next level by optimizing their business systems, while I found myself crashing!
I’d spent so much time learning how to cultivate and get more clients, but hadn’t figured out—or planned for—what to do when I got all these new clients.
The great news is that you can avoid this situation or at least learn how to turn it around.
Here are a few simple steps that can help you strengthen the foundation of your business so that you can ride smoothly and quickly into your successful future!
STEP #1: WHAT DO YOU DO EVERY DAY?
Create a master list of all the things you do in your business.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. You can keep a sheet of paper by your desk or just leave open a document so that you can jot down what you’re doing.
Are you. . .
- Writing copy?
- Handling client inquiries?
- Following up with clients?
- Going to networking events?
- Managing your inbox?
- Processing new clients?
- Delivering services?
- Sending out invoices?
- Collecting payments?
STEP #2: WHY ARE YOU DOING THESE THINGS?
Once you’ve got a fairly detailed list, look more closely at the items on it. Group them into broader categories so that you can understand why each process is important and what part of your business it supports.
The most common categories are. . .
- Client Management
- Add you category here
Combining your regular tasks into larger categories allows you to see the bigger picture by helping you understand where those individual elements fit into the overall scheme of your business.
When I did this exercise, it suddenly “clicked” for me. For the longest time my business was a collection of fragmented images for me. Not knowing how to run my own business when I first started, I began by learning everything about everything. The problem was that I didn’t have a clear enough sense of why I needed to learn all these things and why I needed to know them in order to run my business.
Creating categories and seeing my businesses as a tapestry of interconnected processes made me realize what parts of my business were working harmoniously and where I needed to more neatly connect the seams.
STEP #3: HOW DO YOU DO THESE THINGS?
Systems are sequences of tasks that take you from point A to point B. They are the how part of every business.
Create a standard procedure for each process you listed under Step #1.
Your standard process should represent what currently works best for you. If you haven’t yet managed to come up with an ideal procedure, now’s the time to try to articulate it.
You might also want to go over the process with a team member or someone you can trust.
You’ll be amazed by how much clearer things will seem once you get them out of your head.
Next we will tackle a mysterious topic of a sales cycle and how it shapes your entire business model.
See you then!
BACK TO YOU
You don’t have to do everything all at once.
In fact, this week, all I want you to do is complete the first two steps. If you are anything like me, once you finish them, you will feel grounded and focused.
There is an amazing freedom in being focused, because no shiny object can take your attention away from building a business that really rocks.
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