3 Essential Steps to Grow Your Business in 2021
It’s absolutely critical that we take steps to move our business forward despite the uncertainty surrounding us in 2021.
In my 30-years of experience growing my own or other people’s businesses across multiple countries and hundreds of industries, in for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises, and doing so in good times and bad, here are the three key steps I’ve discovered to make that all-important leap in your business.
#1 What’s Your Perspective?
COVID-19 continues to have an impact on us as people and as business leaders. Financially. Emotionally. Socially. Commercially. In fact, of hundreds surveyed during 2020, a staggering 67% of business owners said their revenues had been negatively affected.
Given all that, your perspective is absolutely critical. The first step is to take some time to pause, reflect, stop and think, to regroup and get your eye back on the prize and ask yourself where you want your business and your wealth to be in 10 years’ time.
Right now some people might say: “How can we possibly look 10 years ahead when we can’t even get a handle on what’s happening now?!”
But you absolutely have to take the time to think about what you want and keep your focus on achieving that outcome. Remember, being in business is a marathon not a sprint. As such, you have to keep a long-term perspective.
So where do you want your business to be in 10 years? What net profit do you want to achieve? What valuation? What impact and contribution do you want to make in your market or indeed, on the planet? How many people will you have served or impacted? And given all of that, what revenue will you, therefore, need to reach that 10-year mark?
Think about what would inspire you, your team, even your family. What would see you reinvigorated and renewed to push on and thrive?
Having this long-term vision crystal clear in your mind (and on paper) is important for two main reasons. First, as the leader of the business, you need what we call “brightness of the future” i.e., something positive to lean into despite the crazy going on around us.
Second, turbulent times like this mean we have to be making short-term, acute decisions to help progress our businesses through lockdowns and sudden shifts. Without that much larger perspective, the perceived and sometimes very real urgency of the short-term issues we face can see us make costly errors that can take us off track from achieving what we ultimately want.
It is critical to make those short-term decisions inside that much longer-term and brighter context of the decade ahead.
#2 What’s Your Strategy?
In 2020, some people’s strategy was to wait and see, or “hope and pray” that everything would return to “normal”. That was ineffective at best, catastrophic at worst. Those that thrived did the thinking to create a new strategy that ensured their business moved forward, added more value to their customers and even grew new revenue streams despite the challenges.
The need to keep doing that strategic work continues in 2021. Opportunities have arisen due to unparalleled changes in consumer behaviour in every sector of the market. As a result, if you want to come back stronger than ever, you have to be thinking strategically.
What is my strategy? How can I shift my business model to another way of doing business, another target audience? How can I move? How can I be in the game and come out of this stronger and better for it? How can I add MORE value to my customers and prospective customers?
Strategy is a methodology, a plan, that solidifies how the ends - your goals - will be achieved by the means - your resources.
Strategy is about building the best, fastest, most cost-effective map to get you from A, where you are now, to B, where you want to be in the shortest possible timeframe.
If you want to create the fastest possible comeback, building a solid pathway for the decade ahead, you're going to find it in doing the strategic thinking and planning.
Creating a clear strategy brings results in good times and in bad.
A clear strategy absolutely brings results. There is nothing more powerful. And it takes giving up being ‘busy’, just for a moment.
Being busy instead of strategic is the number one mistake business owners make time and time again, especially in times of crisis. Why? Because it's one fire to another, not stopping to think ‘what is my strategy'?’
What is going to see us through? How can we do this more easily? Where is the leverage? How do we add more value, to whom, and come out of this thriving?
When it comes to being busy vs strategic, strategic will always win.
#3 What Actions Are You Taking?
Tony Robbins says the “key to results is to take massive determined action”. I couldn’t agree more. But what actions will drive growth? What actions are the right actions? Sometimes in the sea of all that there is to get done, there can be so many options it’s hard to know.
Critically, it comes down to: focusing on taking those actions that will fulfill your strategy and move you toward your long-term goal; and juggling those actions required to support your business and results in the short term.
Overall, some additional key actions include:
- manage cash flow and continue to invest in the future of the business
- inspire your team and community
- be the “positive light on the hill” on all social and digital platforms (there’s enough negativity out there, we don’t need to add to it!)
- focus on adding value to your customers and prospects
- be of service
- keep marketing (even when you think you should stop, don’t. It’s the lifeblood of our businesses!)
- treat every lead as gold and convert, make sure it’s a “no brainer” to choose you
- lead, i.e., be on the front foot at all times, communicate when you want to avoid it, take action where you want to “wait and see” … LEAD.
- manage your mindset, watch what you allow “in”
- do not go it alone, get support from experts to help you navigate 2021 and beyond
- and of course, do the work suggested here.
The 20th-century futurist, humanitarian, author and genius, R. Buckminster Fuller said: “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”
In my view, that has never been more true. Doing what we’ve discussed here will see you designing and architecting your future, powerfully positioned to achieve progress and growth in 2021 and beyond. I wish all of that and more for you.
Ryll Burgin Doyle is an author, keynote speaker and award-winning business and brand strategist for 7 and 8 figure businesses.