Grow Your Cleveland Business in 2004 - Four Simple Steps to Start off Right

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.

As this post-recession New Year is starting, you are probably reflecting on the state of your business. It held on despite the multiple threats of weaker demand, foreign imports, and escalating health care costs. On the positive side, your firm created products, services, and value for your customers. Employees, vendors, and partners relied on you, and your responsibility to them grew. As a result, your business stayed cash flow positive, and you may have even enjoyed some prosperity.

Now, you may think to yourself, I&339;ve maintained the business through these tough years and it's time to finally take a deep breath.

Don't do it for long. In a booming economy, your costs will grow, your competitors will gain, and your customers will spend more. So, by choosing to stay as is, you are weakening your company's position with every passing day.

If you agree that you do have to grow your business now, then how can you start to grow your business now?

What is Growth?

Growth is an increase in your company's top and bottom lines. Specifically, growth comes from:

  • A. Keeping your customers buying
  • B. Selling more of what you have
  • C. Creating new products and services
  • D. Acquiring your competitors customers

Obviously, your company needs to do all of this and more. But all of these things are by-products of focused growth. Start defining your company as a growth company, and focus your critical activities into these four key areas:

  1. Build your firm's best and highest use®: This is your company's reason for being. Understand what makes your company special to your customers and then continually refine what your business likes to do, does well, and is valued for doing. For more information, click here for an article that will point you in the right direction.
  2. Increase your business and get additional customers: Always shoot for a third of your customers to be new buyers.

    When you do this you will confirm your business' vital role in the marketplace. Understand what turns a prospect into a buyer. Provide low risk options for prospects to try your products or services. Learn what it takes to create stable, repetitive customers. Turn your loyal customers into your best advocates and champions.

  3. Deliver your goods: Keep your promises.

    Measure, assess, and improve all that your firm does to meet your customer's expectations. And do it often. How can your services help your customer's business to grow? What part or parts of your business do your customers value most? Do your costs reflect your value? Which customers pay your overhead?

  4. Stay Accountable: Assess your people, activities, functions, and programs in terms of how they contribute to the firm's overall growth.

    Create initiatives that deepen employee commitment to growth -- both their own and the organization's.

After some many years of survival, now it is time to look at your Cleveland business in terms of success. If you accept this as your mantra then all your firm's activities should reflect this priority. Take risks. Learn from your mistakes. And remember: standing still is just the same as falling behind.

Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080, by email at, or on the web at

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