When we think of growing our business, it’s natural to think in a vertical motion, but expansion takes place laterally as well. How does lateral growth occur? The following steps are a few of the things you can do to attain it:
Step 1: Always Deliver More Than What’s Expected
Most of us are familiar with this old axiom, however when things are going well, or we’re in a crunch, the temptation to cut corners or only give the minimum can be quite powerful. Resist it- – the benefits of doing so far outweigh the consequences of giving in to it.
Step 2: Look for “Add-On” Opportunities
It’s easier to increase the amount of services or goods provided to a current client, than it is to sell a new or potential one. Think of other services or products you can offer existing clients that either increase the value of their original purchase, or are complementary to it. In order to recognize these opportunities it would be wise to heed the counsel of Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to understand, and then be understood.” Listen to what your clients are saying, particularly in informal conversations- – this is where your most valuable insights are gleaned.
Step 3: Take Care of Those that Take Care of You
Putting forth extra effort for those that have proven their support and loyalty to you and your business is one of the best investments you can make. The key to utilizing this step successfully is consistency. It’s less effective if it’s done sporadically.
Step 4: Network Outside of Your Regular Circles
Stepping outside of our comfort zones can be intimidating. It’s so much easier to remain in the arena in which we’ve already established the credibility and respect necessary to support our business interests. However, it’s insane to continue doing the same old things with the same old people, and anticipate new results. Networking outside of your regular circle(s) increases the number of potential clients in your pipeline. There’s nothing worse than when your business needs a drink of water, and your “well of potential business” is bone dry. This can easily happen when we allow fear of the unknown to keep us hostage in our comfort zones.
Step 5: Continue to Invest in You
There is always something that we can improve upon. The key is to be open to constructive feedback. When I conduct training classes, I often tell my participants to assume the role of Fred Sanford. As we discuss various topics, I suggest that they evaluate whether or not the information holds some “value” for them. If their conclusion is that it doesn’t- – leave it where they found it. However, if they feel there is some value there —put it on the back of their little red truck and take it home.
Remember lateral (lateral) growth is still growth…and it feels just as good!