By Victor Ochien
When we go into business, we do so hoping and working for growth. However, not most businesses blossom to even hit the $1 million mark in revenue. U.S. Census Bureau data reveals a humbling fact: Out of all U.S. firms, over 75% don’t reach the $1 million mark in sales. That clearly shows that in as much as we all wish for our businesses to get to the $1 million in sales, it’s no easy feat.
Remember that once you hit that mark and you can sustain it, your business is poised for greater success, and of course, you can work smartly to reach $10 million in sales.
“Getting over the $10 million hump in our business has taken some time and has not been an overnight process, as some might think,” says Nicole Smartt, vice president and co-owner of Star Staffing, which has been in business since 1998. “We worked tirelessly on repositioning ourselves in the market and becoming known as an industry leader. In two short years (during the recession), we broke our companies’ sales and profit record. We had finally exceeded the $10-million hump that seemed so hard to get past years before and have continued to increase our profit each year since.”
Smartt is an astute business lady who scooped the Forty Under 40 award, an award that recognizes business leaders below 40 years of age.
Below are some tips she shares on how you can help your business thrive and, over time, hit the $10 million revenue mark or more.
Hire talented and self motivated staff – Your team of staff members determine the performance of your company. While some people would go for experience, it’s better to focus on talent and a strong drive to deliver. Don’t get people who only sit and wait for directions, but select those who’re always on the move to find solutions and new ways of doing things.
Make your business unique – Search for something that will make your business different from your competitors; something that defines your business and solutions. Personalization, she says, is what worked for her company. “I spent a lot of time closing every deal that I had the opportunity to, and for each deal I put together a unique proposal for that client. I researched each business inside and out to truly understand their needs. I focused on providing a personalized approach to everything we did; it really set us apart from other agencies,” explains Smartt. Don’t assume that one approach will be fitting for all your clients.
Network and market your business – For your business to grow, networking and marketing are inseparable. Get people who can talk about your business through word of mouth, explaining the solutions you offer and what makes you different. With this era of social media, she advises that you spend some time every day, at least one hour a day, networking and connecting with leaders through your business’ social networks. Market your business as well through flyers, business cards, posters, and more. As you do that, make sure you have a clear picture of your target market.
Take account of feedback – While in business, you’ll receive feedback from diverse corners – from your clients, staff members, and the community. Be ready to listen and consider the different ideas presented to you. By so doing, you’ll learn of things that would otherwise pass you. As such, you keep your business ahead of competition.
Stick to your business vision – When you start a business, many people will tell you all sorts of things. While it’s important to listen to feedback, don’t succumb to all influence. Most people will tell you how things are done in ways that have been tested. While that isn’t bad, it’s important to break the barriers so that you make a difference. Ensure that you put down your business goals and share with your staff the direction you would like your business to take so that they can also work towards achieving those goals.
By putting these ideas into work, you can be sure to work to and past the $10 million revenue mark.