Almost every adviser I speak to, no matter what their current revenue, thinks that the key to the growth of their business is marketing.
Well guess what? In most cases it’s not.
Marketing is an important part of your business’s growth, but if you haven’t dealt successfully with the foundations of growth, your marketing efforts will never give you the results you’re hoping for.
Sorry to be so blunt, but I really want to get your attention on this one. It’s one of the most common mistakes I see business owners make.
How do I grow beyond my current revenue ceiling?
The answer depends on what your current revenue ceiling is.
I see five phases of growth that all businesses need to work through on the road to £1M or more of annual revenue.
Phase 1 – £0 – £300k
You’re in start up mode at this phase. You only have one goal; to generate enough business to survive.
However, as you gather some momentum there are two important issues to focus on:
a.) Hire a great administrator and paraplanner. In-house or outsourced is fine, but they have to let you rainmake (i.e. find new prospects) and see new and existing clients.
b.) Make sure you’ve got your selling skills right in this phase of your career. You don’t want to be burning any good quality prospects and so getting your selling skills right is essential. (Check out my coaching bundle, Converting New Clients (the first meeting process) if you need some help with this skill.)
Phase 2 – £200k – £400k
Once you’ve established yourself and you know you’re not going to starve to death, it’s time to work out who you serve.
If you’re lucky, you’ve known that from minute one of your business. However, as with most small business owners, it’s likely you’ll be many years into your journey before you really start to think about who you best/love to serve.
At this stage of growth, you need to start to narrow your focus, otherwise you’ll never stand out in the marketplace. Knowing who you serve simplifies a lot of decisions and will help you with your initial branding and marketing efforts. (Check out Understanding Your Client Base for some support)
Phase 3 – £300k – £500k
If you have ambition to keep growing beyond this level of annual revenue then you’ve got to improve your business management skills. I don’t mean managing people per se, I mean having a vision for the future, business planning, establishing a regular meeting flow, reviewing your progress quarterly and continuing to build your team. (Take a look at Business Planning and Execution Skills if this is something you need to work on).
Phase 4 – £400k – £800k
At this level it’s time to add a Practice Manager to your team. They can handle the “everything else” while you focus on continuing to rainmake and see clients.
Without a Practice Manager at this point, the “everything else” that goes with running your business, tasks which will have been growing alongside your business, will be taking up larger chunks of your time.
If you’re running a business in this revenue range, it’s quite possible you feel like you’re doing an average job as an adviser and an average job as a business manager. Trust me, you’re just stretched too thin. (Check out Building The Perfect Support Team for some assistance).
Phase 5 £500k – £1M
Now is the time to focus on your marketing – by professionalising your marketing and communications. This is the level where you ensure it is the business driving the leads, not any one charismatic individual. By institutionalising your lead flow you can keep focused on hiring new people, developing them and growing your own internal talent for the future. That’s the key to sustainable and enjoyable growth. (Here’s Marketing Strategies That Work to get you flying.)
If you find yourself at a higher level on this pyramid, just make sure you’ve dealt with the issues at the lower levels as I’ve suggested. Otherwise those lower level issues could be holding you back.
Each phase of growth builds on the one before. You can’t skip to level 5 and become successful, that’s not how it works.
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