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Scaling Your Business

The 3 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Do To Grow Their Business

A lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners say that their best skill is being able to start businesses, often with just grit and an idea. But things are a whole different story when it's time to grow the business.

A lot of companies and startups that look like they could do well grow really quickly at first, but then they hit a wall and can't go any further.

At this point, it's almost a stereotype that young, ambitious people who start businesses end up stuck in an endless loop of either failing over and over again or working too hard and not getting much done. The simple truth behind this slightly sad cliche is that most businesses don't know how to grow.

At The Global Citizen Guide, we see this problem a lot, and many businesses, if not all of them, find it hard to solve. It's not impossible, which is good news.

I'm going to give you the three best business tips that our co-founder Michael Carrington has to offer in this piece.

Michael has grown dozens of great businesses over the years and knows what problems business owners usually run into when they try to grow. He also tells you how to avoid them.

The Problem with Scaling

The truth is that you need two very different sets of skills to start a business and support it as it grows.

Michael has seen that the biggest problem most entrepreneurs have when they're trying to figure out how to grow their businesses isn't a lack of professional knowledge, but a change in how they think. For entrepreneurs, it's easy to understand what business growing means and get the skills and information they need. The trouble starts when they think they have to do everything themselves and that the only way to fix the problem is to work harder.

In the end, this way of thinking makes business owners and leaders stuck in their own stores. They end up working too much and getting burned out because the company depends on them so much that they can't even take a day off.

"When they first start, a lot of the people I work with think they have to do everything, and they never get out of that frame of mind," says Michael. "Now they think that hard work is the only way to keep growing. You need to fire yourself!"

Now think about it this way: if you were the captain of a ship, would you rather steer the ship or fix the sails and measure the whatever it is called that has all the ropes?

The job of the person in charge of your business is to run it, not to handle every little thing yourself. It's not only a pain, but it's also impossible.

In a given amount of time, everyone's brain can only handle a certain amount of information. No amount of efficiency hacks will change that. There is no such thing as multitasking, and many studies have shown that having too many things to do makes you less likely to make good choices.

Too many business owners make the mistake of spending too much time and energy on unimportant tasks and not enough on things that will help their company grow.

Michael says that the most important thing for any growth plan is to create long-lasting systems and procedures that help you make better use of your time and energy.

It's not so much about adding more to your plate as it is about taking as much off of it as you can.

How are we going to do that?

Well, as you'll see below, Hanson has a number of strategies and methods you can use to help your business grow and reach long-term, steady growth without having to do everything yourself.

Break Your Business Down Into Processes

Knowing how your business works is the first thing you should do before coming up with a plan for growth. At first glance, this may not make sense, since the founder of a business is usually the one who knows it best.

Most businesses would actually have a hard time explaining what they do because they're so used to knowing what to do next without even thinking about it. That's why most businesses don't know what to focus on when it's time to grow.

"A lot of people are just following their gut," says Michael. "But they're giving everything the same amount of weight because they haven't taken the time to plan out and see how each action affects things. In the end, everything is important.

When you think everything is important, you waste a lot of time and energy on things that could be easily handled or given to someone else to do.

Using Ford's Model-T assembly line as an example, Michael says you should take a step back and divide your business into separate parts. Take a really objective look at your business. Only then will you be able to figure out what your real growth sources are.

Personally, Michael remembers his first job as a self-employed person, which was starting a real estate fund with a friend that is now worth more than $70 million.

We were both running around, and I told them, "Okay, let me just focus on one thing. I don't think we're going to get anywhere." "Let me think about what we can do here that will make the biggest difference."

When Michael and his partner took a step back, they divided their business into different sets of jobs and tried to figure out which ones were taking the most time. They spent most of their time looking for homes that they could later fix up and sell. This became clear to him very quickly.

Spending hours sitting in a chair looking at different properties online and calling real estate agents to see if they were interested in selling was a very expensive process.

When Michael realized this, he started looking for a way to speed up the whole process of looking for homes and making offers on them. He went straight to the source to do this.

Michael says, "I went into the system and exported all the realtors in the area because I knew they would give us ideas." "I sent out what I think were 300 cold emails to real estate agents, telling them what we were looking for, how much we were willing to pay, and the formula we use to decide if a property is a good investment." Send it to us if you find one.

It was a plan that really worked out for Michael and his business partner.

He sent out 300 emails to real estate agents, but only three or four replied. However, those three or four agents brought years of experience, knowledge, and connections to the table. In just a few weeks, he was able to find the best homes, some of which weren't even on the market yet, with a lot less work than before.

"That cut through all the crap about us not knowing how to find properties and helped us find real estate agents who knew about the properties we wanted. Instead of going through all the junk ourselves, we were able to pick out the best homes that would make us the most money." Michael recalled.

He learned a lot from that experience, and Michael still uses it when he helps other businesses grow.

"The first thing I do is make sure I fully understand each step of the process. This is very important." I'll go in and ask a lot of questions while following the business owner around.

I'll go in and ask, "Okay, first thing's first: how do you get a client?" Where can I find them? What do you tell them? How can I trust you? We'll go through the whole process and write down everything the owner does.

But once you've broken down your business tasks and written them down, how do you know which ones will have the most impact? How do you decide what to do first and what to hire someone else to do?

To answer that...

In order to grow your business, you don't have to work harder; you just have to work smarter.

As a business owner, remember that your most valuable asset is not your skills, information, or even natural talent. That's not true. Your time and energy are the only things that no one else can copy.

Because you can't get it back once you spend it, it is by far your most valuable resource.

Michael says that you can only start to figure out which jobs have the most impact on you and your business when you realize that you only have so much time and energy to spend each day.

"I ask business owners, 'What do you love doing?' after I ask them what they're doing. And the thing they love is often the thing that makes the most money for them. We just need to get them to do the thing they love more (pun intended).

Bonus: Automate Lead Qualification

Setting up your lead screening process to run itself is a simple way to get more time back.

A lot of business owners, especially those who are just starting out, make it a habit to talk to every possible customer or client that comes their way.

Michael says, "That's not smart because you shouldn't talk to everyone to see if they'll be a good client." Because you only want to talk to the right people, you need to make sure they're qualified before you talk to them.

Michael suggests making a simple form or quiz that asks all the basic necessary questions for you. This will help you save your valuable time and energy.

"Now that we have Google Forms, we don't even need any crazy tech. If someone says, "Hey, I'd like to set up a call with you," we can say, "Great, fill out this form. If we're a good fit, I'll send you a link to my calendar."

If you want to do this yourself, start with Google Forms or Interact Quizmaker and add all the questions you usually ask in the first meeting.

After that, just send them a link to the form, and you can look over their replies whenever you want. This process should already get rid of most of the people who contact you and give you all the important details you need right away.

Michael suggests Woven as another tool. It is a free tool for making schedules that works with Google Calendar. You can tell your leads ahead of time what times you're open for a call, and then they can pick one.

A great example of how anyone can use technology to save a huge amount of time is this very easy process.

Hire the Right People To Help Grow Your Business

As we’ve already established, you need to fire yourself every chance you can get. Once again, your only job is to be working on the things that only you can do, everything else should be farmed out.

The issue is that most entrepreneurs have no idea how to hire to grow business.

An awful lot of people don't know who to hire, when to hire them, or how to work with an expert adviser, whether they want to hire someone full-time, a virtual assistant, or just work with them.

Michael said that when new business owners hire someone, the biggest mistake they make is giving the new employee too much to do.

"When someone hires their first worker, second worker, or even third worker, they usually give them a lot of stuff." Hanson says it. They tell me, 'Okay, you're my sales guy, my office guy, my marketing guy, and all that.'"

And people who are hired in that way don't follow many rules or methods, so it's all a mess. You waste a lot of time showing them new things when you should hire people for what they're good at.

When you need to cut a piece of wood, you wouldn't use a hammer. The same is true for people.

You should hire someone you can trust to get things done right away, whether they're an employee or an expert. But you won't be able to find that person until you know what you need them to do.

One of the main reasons it's so important to divide your business into various stages, each with its own set of steps. To use the previous assembly line example again, it's much easier to find someone to do just one part of the process than to try to find someone who can do everything.

He says, "Most people don't take the time to understand their business, so they don't know what they're hiring for." So it's very important to plan out every part of your business. That way, you can see which part makes the most difference and decide who to hire and who to look for first.

Now that you know what you need to hire someone for, you need to find the right person.

Even though you can always use sites like Upwork or Fiverr, Michael says that you should only do so if you can't find anyone in your network who can help you. However, that doesn't mean you should hire family and friends just because they're close by.

That being said, what if you're new to the business and don't know any other pros who can help you?

Michael himself was in this situation when he started his first online business several years ago. He found the best people for the job with an easy hack, which was lucky.

"I started looking for people who had worked with people who are where I want to be in five or ten years." He says, "Because they've worked with the best before, they know how to get you from where you are to where they are or where you want to be in 5 years or even less."

This way, Michael can weed out the fakes and find the real professionals that he can trust right away. Plus, he gets to work with people who have been in the same situation before and can help him with the things he doesn't know enough about yet.

As Michael puts it, "you need to find people who have experience in what you're trying to build and have worked with people who are way ahead of you." He has done this process many times for different companies and industries. "Now you're not just learning about what works and what doesn't; you're putting what works into action and making it even better."

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