Be Better or Be Bigger (Part II)?

Be Better or Be Bigger (Part 2)? In Blackboard Fridays Episode 36, Jacob talks about Growth Planning. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.

In last week’s episode we reviewed the 6 Ways your business can ‘Be Better’ with the existing resources you have. Sometimes, however, you absolutely, positively, have to ramp up the size and power of your business.

It’s time to ‘Be Bigger’ – so let’s talk about the 6 Ways you can increase the size of your engine. Those of us with Payroll Tax phobia may be surprised that only 1 of those 6 requires hiring more people.

If you’ve enjoyed this recent series on defining, refining, and building your Capacity Engine in business, make sure you re-watch Blackboard Fridays episode 30 where I talk about using this framework to set your strategic roadmap in business.

This sequence of priorities – Be Better, Be Bigger, then Be Better again, then Be Bigger again – is the fastest way I’ve found for business owners to achieve their vision sooner.

Which of these 6 Ways to grow are you implementing already?

Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.”

Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.

At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.

You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.


Welcome to Blackboard Fridays, where a combination of topics from the last 36 weeks of videos has come together this week to focus on how to be bigger in your business.

A few weeks ago, we talked about what business strategy was: The ordered priorities and roadmap to take you from where you are now to where you want to get to.

That journey is a combination of reducing and efficiencies, “being better”, and growing the capacity of your business, “being bigger”. Step-by-step you take that journey to your vision.

Two weeks ago, we talked about how to calculate the capacity engine in your business. How much revenue could you be generating and is there any waste?

Last week, we focused on that waste. We focused on 6 categories that you could address, which might be holding back revenue and profitability in your existing business.

But the reality is, at some point your team are going to be efficient enough. You’re going to want to grow.

The 6 Ways to Grow a Business

Similarly, we have 6 categories for you as a business owner to focus on when it comes to growing the size of your capacity engine, building a business that can output even more revenue month after month.

Let’s run through them.

1. More People

The first is More People. This is the obvious one.

When I talk to most business owners about growth, this is the one they go to. “I need to hire more people.”

I recently worked with a trade business on their recruitment strategy. Through hard work, they had a lot of excellent systems and processes working well, in particular their marketing and their sales. They couldn’t keep up with the work being generated, and they were struggling to recruit the right people to come in with the right skills to hit the ground running.

So, we pulled together a recruitment strategy that included their onboarding process, as well as how they were marketing and advertising to their channels and to their database to get better candidates through the door on a consistent basis. Often the best candidates are seeing the same ads as your best clients.

A lot of businesses I talk to don’t want more people—they’re hesitant to grow because they’re worried that that just means more headache. The good news if that’s you, are that five other ways you can grow the business without necessarily needing to add more people.

2. More Products

The next growth option is More Products.

A great example of this was an LMS (Learning Management System) software development client I worked with – they had a great business building learning platforms for companies that needed that software.

What they found was that their clients kept asking them to put together the courses, to help structure the programs, not just build the software to support it. They’re now two separate businesses, each of which is bigger than the initial business. That’s because they listen to their market and identify the product opportunity.

As a rule of thumb, additional products that you add to your business will be more profitable:

  • they’re built-in response to an actual need, and
  • they leverage a brand your existing brand that is already out there with the reputation in the marketplace.

If you’ve got some great product ideas that your clients are clamoring for, this is a fantastic way to grow without needing to add more people because you can sell those same products through your existing team to your existing clients.

3. More Channels

The flip to More Products is building More Channels. Rather than building or sourcing more products, to sell into existing clients, you now have more channels to sell your existing products through.

One of the wonderful ways you can do this in many professional services businesses is building strategic referral partners, unpaid sales teams that are out there sending your clients on a regular basis.

Monitoring your existing channels to market can also help grow your engine. One of my early clients was a Marketing Agency that had “too much work”, they needed to grow, so we focused on their channel strategy. In analysing their business in this way for the first time, we realised that every single one of their bad clients came from a single source.

We broke down all their clients by channel and we identified that this one source was sending them terrible clients, and those terrible clients were referring even more clients.

By reducing the number of channels, they were able to increase their average client size by 30%, which meant that their team were doing bigger jobs and outputting more revenue on average – a bigger engine, with zero extra staff.

4. Pricing and Packaging

Better pricing and/or packaging of your products is a great way to increase the revenue your team can generate again without needing more people.

As an extreme example, if you just increased your prices by 100% you would double the size of your engine.

Of course, you might lose a few clients if you doubled your prices overnight. It’s important to get the pricing and packaging done well.

One of my clients put together a subscription package for their clients. The prices went up by between 20 and 50 percent, but because they managed to package it in a successful way and break it down into bite-sized monthly lump, so the end clients felt they were getting more value. My client was able to increase all that revenue, again without needing more team, more bodies, more headaches.

When was the last time you put your prices up? And are your clients buying a package that they feel is tailored to them or they just buying the one thing that you offer them?

We’ve now seen 4 of the 6 ways to be bigger in business. These are all fairly common ideas that small business owners have, though not everyone implements them all. With the last two categories, we start to get into some strategies that fewer businesses deal with – but where there can be massive uplift and opportunity, if you decide this is the way you’re going to grow your enterprise.

5. Client Base Management

When was the last time you did a proper analysis of your clients – individually, or (if you’re above a few thousands customers per year) by category? Do you still know which clients are best for your business as it exists today – because that’s probably changed from when you were starting out.

You may be familiar with the Pareto Principle that says that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your input. This is true in a lot of businesses when I’ve done this analysis: 80% of their profit comes from their top 20% of clients.

Let me tell you one case study, which is a client where we did this and discovered that 90 percent of their profit came from just their top 10 clients. In other words, if they sacked 90 percent of their clients, they would make almost as much profit. That’s before they even got rid of some of the team that were no longer needed!

Now, sacking that many clients and staff wasn’t the strategy they went through. But as part of doing a Client Base Management analysis, we did identify that 50% of their client work that was losing them money. Can you imagine how demoralising that was to this company (and their 40 employees) – discovering so much work that was done, so many urgent deadlines that were met, to make absolutely no money as a result.

We spun that into a positive for the business partners – at least now they knew. And once they knew, they were in a position to address this issue strategically.

We ultimately wrapped up that bundle of clients in a big ball of love … and we sent it on its way to a smaller competitor down the road who was perfectly positioned to support those clients. And was willing to pay a multiple of revenue to acquire them!

Great for the competitor growing a business with a different focus. But even greater for my client because suddenly their team had all this spare capacity to deal with the bigger, more profitable clients. A team that can deliver more revenue and more profit, without any level of recruitment.

6. New Paradigm

The final, rarest strategy to grow your business is what I call “New Paradigm“. This is starting to delve into the deep belief structures that you as a business owner have about the potential and opportunity for your business.

When you analyse the limiting beliefs that may be holding you back, and you dig through those to discover that you genuinely do choose and create the whole of your own reality, then you can set business goals that will far exceed what may be those little voices of doubt deep down are telling you are capable.

My last example of today is a financial client that I worked with a few years ago. This was the process that they went through with some specialists in that area. Instead of being a financial specialist in the one market that they were, they’re now a global business.

They’re selling services into twelve different countries, and they’re not just selling financial services anymore, they’ve got a whole suite of products. They’ve kicked off an awful lot of those growth strategies and it all came back to them realising that the only thing holding back their potential was themselves.

In Conclusion

Now, take a look the 6 Ways your business can Be Better and the 6 Ways that you could Be Bigger.

1. Better Analytics and Financials1. More People
2. Better Skills2. More Products
3. Better Sales3. More Channels
4. Better Brand and Marketing4. Pricing and Packaging
5. Better Culture5. Client Base Management
6. Better Operations6. New Paradigm

As you’ve heard, since 2006 I’ve worked with client businesses to strategically address and build systems in each of those 12 opportunities.

So, when I go into a business to do a strategic workshop, these are some of the conversations that I want to be having with you, the business owners.

This is the power of the Deep Generalist business coach. Undoubtedly, there are some specialists out there that focus on one or two of these in general – maybe Culture, or Marketing.

If you know specifically what your business needs, with confidence, then it can be wise to find the right specialist to help you with that. But here’s the risk: how often do you think a Culture guru says “Nah, you have a Marketing problem”? Or a Marketing expert takes a look at your business and says “You’re already at capacity, don’t hire me because you need a growth project first”?

The specialist sees the world through their lens. A business owner in private enterprise is ultimately responsible for seeing their company through every lens … and so the person they need to talk with most is someone who can also move between different spaces.

And that person can help unlock the growth from where you are now to where you want to be, and do it with you a whole lot sooner because you’ve made the decision to be better, to be bigger, and to be both.

Next Steps

Want to learn more about how this can apply to your business? It costs nothing to chat:

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