Business is good, and that’s great. Yet, you can’t help but feel as nervous as a kid in the doctor’s office. Because though the influx of customers is great, the change and new challenges for your business that come with them has you wringing your hands. Sure, you want to cultivate these new opportunities, but how can you do so without endangering your current client relationships?
Here’s my secret: To effectively manage growth, have the courage to embrace any worthy risk. There is no doubt that the success I experienced in my 30 years building two businesses came because my business partners and I embraced risk every day.
Think about this, risk always travels with a very desirable companion, opportunity. Every opportunity includes risk. This is a business’ deluxe package, and it’s well worth the price.
Turn back the clock to the moment your travel business was launched. Do you realize the odds you faced when you took the leap of faith to start a new business? After all, 80 percent of all businesses fail after three years. Talk about risk! You had the courage to do it then, and in order to sustain growth, you’ll have to embrace risk once again.
Here are the 5 ways that will help you manage the growth of your business without losing momentum:
Always play to win. People hate to lose. In fact, studies have shown that there is twice as much joy in NOT LOSING as there is in winning. Humans have loss aversion because of the pain we feel when we lose. In sports, when a team gets a big lead they change their game plan to protect their lead. The very strategy that put them into the lead is thrown out so they won’t have to face the possibility of losing. The problem with a play not to lose strategy is the competition is not going along with your plan. They are doing everything possible to win.
When you switch to a defensive strategy in business, you cease the forward movement. But competition and the ever-changing demands of customers require all businesses to maintain forward progress. Always play to win. When you do, your mindset is positive and enthusiasm high.
Make the tough choices. Business owners never want to make a bad decision. So sometimes they don’t make any decision at all. Start making the tough choices. Great leaders don’t fear decision making. They understand how critical it is to keep moving forward.
Embrace the risk of change. Nothing in business is more destructive than an unwillingness to change. Even success requires us to embrace the risk of change. My advice for strong leadership is be a benevolent advocate for change. Entrust those who you lead to implement change and change will become much easier for the reluctant to accept.
Know that external change and innovation will be necessary to improve the value your company provides to clients. That’s how you meet the competition head on, by constantly improving your value to customers.
Keep marketing and don’t stop. Marketing must be an ongoing strategy, not an on-demand one. Even when you are overloaded with business, keep marketing. Business is cyclical and because the customer controls the purchase, your message must always be in front of them.
Stand in your own line. Know your customer’s experience by experiencing it yourself. If it takes days to accommodate a customer’s request when it should take hours, you have a “line problem.” Clients have choices and part of a customer’s perception of value is the experience. If the experience dealing with your agency is unpleasant, the customer will find better value with a competitor.
Success does not mean we can relax, lose focus of customer value, or stop our forward progress. Growth requires us to step outside our comfort zone and make difficult choices. Keep your business “playing to win.” These 5 ways are a sure strategy for long-term success.
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Tom Panaggio is cofounder of Direct Mail Express and Response Mail Express and author of The Risk Advantage: Embracing the Entrepreneur’s Unexpected Edge (River Grove Books).