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ADVICE

Secrets of growing your biz

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Ever notice how some small businesses seem to thrive under just about any economic conditions, while others constantly struggle and miss opportunities that come their way? In part, in might be the type of business, the location or financial backing. But the most successful business owners display some clear patterns and habits.

And on the flip side of that, other business owners make many of the same mistakes that are often avoidable, especially when it comes to growing a business. Part of the problem is short-term thinking – chasing the latest shiny advertising object that happens to pass by, for example. Or spending too much time seeking new customers and not enough taking care of the ones you have.

Solid, long-term growth starts with what I call “inside-out” thinking – doing the things inside your business that you can control, and paying less attention to the outside things you can’t control. Here are secrets for successful growth:

• Change how you think about growth. Consider growth a constant – not something you switch on or off depending on conditions. For example, many business owners reduce offerings at the first sign of an economic storm, or overspend when the outlook seems rosy. But a steady-as-she-goes approach makes for long-term success.

• Remember your first fans. Many entrepreneurs seem to forget who helped them get started. If you have investors, keep them apprised of what’s going on. Good communication is critical.

• Share your knowledge. In today’s social media-driven world, success and influence are in the hands of those who share ideas and information. So when you’ve found a great tool or solution, or gained insight, tweet it, blog about it, author an article, post it to Facebook.

• Hire help to watch your money. Lack of strong accounting and finance can be the only thing keeping you from reaching your financial goals. Find well-qualified people who share your vision and then step back and take their advice.

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