Small Business Growth Opportunities : Uncover the diamonds in your backyard
Some of you may have heard or read "Acres of Diamonds" by Russell H. Cronwell (www.temple.edu/about/temples_founder/acres_text.html). It's a story about Al Hafed, a farmer who lived comfortably amongst his orchards, grain fields and gardens? until he heard about diamonds. Al Hafed sold his farm by the river Indus in Ancient Persia to pursue his dream of becoming wealthy by finding diamonds.
His search took him through the Mountains of the Moon, Palestine and Europe. In the process Al Hafed became a poor, lonely and disillusioned man, eventually committing suicide in Spain.
The person who bought Al Hafed's farm discovered some shiny stones that he placed on his mantle. It wasn't till the local priest saw them that he realised they were diamonds and that the farm was rich in these "shiny stones". Al Hafed had acres of diamonds in his own backyard, the one place he didn't look for them.
Businesses committed to growth often make the same mistake - investing a lot of time and energy searching out and attacking new markets. While sometimes this investment and risk is worthwhile, we often ignore potential opportunities in our own "business backyards" - opportunities that are usually better targeted, less risky and more profitable.
The major moral to this story is obvious. What is often overlooked is that even when Al Hafed's successor on the farm discovered the diamonds he didn't recognise what they were until an outsider (the Priest) pointed it out to him.
Some times even when you are looking for opportunities from within your business, it is hard to explore with fresh eyes. That's one of the reasons our clients enjoy working with us. We study your business with a sense of curiosity and excitement. We help you and your team "look at your business for the first time", no matter how busy you are or how long you've been in the business.
Here are 4 simple principles you can follow to uncover the diamonds in your backyard:
1. Step back and ask.
You don't have to be the expert. Ask staff, suppliers and clients where they think the opportunities are. A simple approach is often the most effective with the best ideas coming from casual conversations.
Refer to this month's case study and discover how easy it was for John Lambert of Technical Focus, to add completely new revenue streams.
2. Adding value is an attitude.
Are you and your team constantly thinking about how you can provide added value for your clients? What resources do you have that can make life easier for your clients? Do you know your clients as people?
3. Engage everyone as your ambassador.
Think of everyone around you as your sales team - your staff, clients, friends and family. Every person you know probably knows at least 200 - 300 other people. Educate them in the type of people you want to meet and when successful reward and thank them for their efforts.
4. Keep in touch.
Based on the principles of Funnel Marketing (www.funnelcalculator.com), make sure you have a system for staying in contact with those prospects who don't become clients straight away. So often in business, success is just a question of timing.
We aren't talking about complicated hi-tech diamond mining. These are simple techniques that any business can implement. When is the best time to start fossicking? Procrastination and complacency are key reasons why people don't achieve the outcomes they want from their business.
There are diamonds in your backyard so the best time to start is now. Do something - anything - about it today. One of the main benefits many of our clients appreciate, is simply having a committed third party that helps them to stay pro-active and focussed.
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