There are two types of businesses: the ones that pootle along content that they are meeting a satisfactory demand for their products or services; and the ones that constantly strive to increase their market share and push themselves to meet what they hope to be an ever-growing demand for their offerings. Both can be successful, but the second group has the potential to be ever more successful because it has applied a growth mindset. If you see yourself in the first group, however, there is nothing to stop you from developing a growth mindset and moving into the second group. But what is a growth mindset and how do you develop one?
What is a growth mindset?
When applied to business, a growth mindset is not just about thinking positively and hoping that translates to sales, although an optimistic outlook helps. Developing a growth mindset involves looking at every part of your business and recognising and making the necessary changes to make the whole business grow.
Here, we highlight the key areas where you need to be proactive to foster a growth mindset and the different ways that you can harness a growth mindset to expand your business.
Ways to foster a growth mindset
Proactively sell your business
If you have a great product or service and put effort into selling it at the start, that initial boost could be enough to keep sales ticking over for years. You find that you have no need to push sales because repeat business and recommendations keep you going and your staff busy.
To foster a growth mindset, you must never stop driving sales. When your sales are always on an upward trajectory, your output, revenue, and profits should also be on that same upward curve. When all those areas are continually growing, your business is continually growing.
If sales isn’t an area that you have the time or inclination to focus on, recruit a dedicated salesperson, perhaps initially part-time until they prove they can earn their keep. You need to find someone that understands your product, gets its value, and has the energy and tenacity to persuade potential buyers to sign up for it.
Encourage your whole team to subtly sell your product where they can too. Whether you’re selling a vegan sports drink or an HR service, if your staff buy into your mission statement and feel as passionate about what you are selling as you do, they can be motivated to spread the word through their professional and social networks. Offer friends and family discount codes and salary bonuses to boost team sales.
Asking your existing customers to refer you to their networks is another great way to help drive sales and you can offer them incentives to do this too.
Effectively market your offering
Get your name and your offering in front of more eyeballs and you instantly expand your market. This can be done easily now by combining the power of social media, email newsletters and high-quality content. Using tools, such as Hootsuite, you can schedule your social media posts weeks in advance. Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook will all help you to get your product or service in front of thousands more people.
Make sure that your website is optimised and designed for 21st century purchasers’ expectations too. If it’s slow to load or dated, those that you have directed to it via social media or newsletters won’t stick around. Look at instant chat software so that you can answer potential clients’ questions straightaway and methods for collecting emails so you can follow-up with interested parties. Each of these little steps will help move your new audience along your marketing funnel and, hopefully, lead to more sales.
Don’t discount traditional marketing techniques either, mail shots, billboards and magazine, radio and TV advertising are still useful ways of reaching certain audiences.
Expand your geographical area
If you’ve cornered the market in your part of the country, think about expanding. Perhaps open a new restaurant, shop, or office in another city or even country. Or, if you don’t need a physical showroom, work from your existing premises but begin marketing and selling to different areas of the country or world to expand your geographical area of operation. Set up a French or Spanish-language website, for example, and begin exporting. Alternatively, consider the option of franchising to expand your reach into new markets, while benefitting from your franchisee’s local customer knowledge. Not all businesses suit the franchise model. But if your business offers a service or product that other people can replicate and you have a strong brand that will translate to different locations, it is a route worth considering.
Network, network, network
Networking is harder during a pandemic, but with social media and the growth of virtual conferencing and virtual business networking it gets easier every day. Engage with people on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Sign up for the virtual versions of the conferences and business groups that you used to attend in person. Most people are working away isolated at home and they crave the opportunity to interact, so introduce yourself and start a conversation. You might find new customers, new employees and even venture capital opportunities this way.
Widen your niche
Think outside the box about which previously untapped markets might benefit from what you offer. Whilst Covid-19 hit many businesses hard, for example, it has also created opportunities and new audiences for some. Take the hair clipper businesses, which typically marketed to hairdressers, they are now selling to the growing band of novice haircutters who have been restricted from visiting the barbers by lockdown. Maybe your dictation software, which you have been marketing at businesses, could be equally as useful to students?
Or think about diversifying your offering. If you manufacture voice-activated software for washing machines, could you adapt it so that it can be applied to other home appliances?
Grow your team
Once you can see sales begin to rise, you may need to expand your workforce so that it can support the extra business. Timing this is tricky. Too early and you end up paying people to wait around for the work to arrive. Too late and you end up having too much work to go around, you’re forever playing catch up and risk missing delivery deadlines. There are several economic ways to fill these vacancies, however.
Hire initially on a temporary basis, maybe even part-time. Look to increase the hours and move the employee over to a permanent employment contract once you can see that the workload is growing at a steady pace.
There are thousands of graduates looking for work at the moment. Recruit graduates initially on a short-term internship, train them up and if things go well offer them a permanent role at the end of their contract.
If you are manufacturing a product and know that your factory can not quickly up demand, draft an outsourcing agreement so that the extra work can be handed over until a time when you can expand your own operation.
Seek outside funding
To really boost your business, you may need a shot of capital investment. This additional money will help you to fund your expansion plans, take on extra staff and boost your marketing and advertising spend. There are a number of ways you can raise funds:
- Take out a bank loan or use an overdraft facility.
- If you fail to secure finance from your traditional lender because you don’t have the security to meet their requirements, you may be able to secure an Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) from the British Business Bank.
- See if you’re eligible for a business grant – take a look at our guide to small business grants and how to access them. Alternatively, this government website lists dozens of grants.
- Look into business incubators and business accelerators. Backed by established businesses, not-for-profit organisations, investors and academia, business incubators are designed for early stage start-ups. Not only do they help with seed funding for startups, they may also provide office or co-working space, mentors and access to invaluable networks. Business accelerators offer a similar package to business incubators, but they’re designed for start-ups that have already established themselves and are moving into scale-up stage. Although due an update, innovation fund Nesta has published a list of British accelerators and incubators here.
- Consider courting private equity or venture capital funding. This is particularly beneficial if you want to harness the expertise of people who have experience of scaling-up a venture. Discover whether your business, in its current state, is best suited to private equity or venture capital funding here: Private Equity Vs Venture Capital: What’s The Difference?
- See whether crowdfunding could fit the bill. This is where hundreds of small investors are given the chance to buy shares in your company.
How Harper James can help you develop a growth mindset for your business
Whether you're looking to franchise, bring in outside investment, expand into new markets or niches, you need a strong legal business structure that will help you to facilitate these changes. Harper James’s team of experienced solicitors specialises in helping start-ups develop their businesses. They are ready and waiting to help you create new business structures, draw up and check contracts, develop franchise proposals and assess funding options. Find out more about how our business legal services can help you to develop a growth mindset for your business.