This week on #Smallbizchat LIVE our show featured three guests: How to get growth that lands you on the Inc. 5000 list with Rod Brown, @RoderickLBrown, The Business of Storytelling with Sue Young, @sueyoungmedia, and Profiting From Podcasts: How to leverage the power of podcasts to build your business with Steve Olsher, @steveolsher.
I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wed of the month, Smallbizchat LIVE is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.
Rod Brown is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded three companies, over the past decade, that were all bootstrapped and all grew from zero to 7 figures. The software company OnceLogix, landed on the Inc. 5000 list in 2016, 2017, and 2018, The Forbes Small Giants list in 2017. Brown is passionate about helping small business owners grow and sustain healthy businesses. For more info: http://oncelogix.com/.
SMALLBIZLADY: What are the qualifications needed to land on the Inc. 5000 list?
Rod Brown: The Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America honors all sizes of success. If your private company has grown in the past few years, take advantage of this opportunity to receive global and national recognition for your achievements. You owe it to yourself (and to your employees) to apply for the most prestigious award in business.
To qualify for the 2018 Inc. 5000, your company must meet each of the following qualifications:
- Be privately-owned, based in the United States, independent (not a subsidiary or division of another company)
- Have started earning revenue by March 31st, 2014
- Had revenue no less than $100,000 in 2014
- Had revenue no less than $2,000,000 in 2017
- Revenue in 2017 exceeds revenue in 2014
SMALLBIZLADY: Is there such a thing as growing your business too quickly? Why or Why not?
Rod Brown: I believe you can grow too quickly. Rapid growth presents some interesting opportunities. I believe rapid growth will destroy you if;
- You do not have proper processes in place to handle a huge, rapid growth.The success is in the process. Each step of acquiring, on-boarding, communicating, and supporting your customers is extremely important. Having to do more of those things without having streamlined efficient processes in place could present nightmares.
- You do not have the necessary capital to sustain the growth.If you receive an order 100 times the size of your largest order, do you have the capital to fill it? If you can’t deliver on 1 or several large offers it will not look good and could be a costly fail.
- You do not have the human capital to maintain and support the growth. You need people to execute. If your growth outpaces the talent, you will not be able to execute many of the necessary strategies i.e. sales, marketing, or customer service.
SMALLBIZLADY: How can you determine if your company will grow faster selling to current customers or new ones?
Rod Brown: You have to be intentional when selling to your existing customers. When selling to your existing customer base the key ingredient to your new or additional offer is value. I believe that there are three ways to grow your business substantially with your existing customer base. It all starts with adding additional value. Once you’ve added additional value through innovation or solving another problem for your current customers, you can effectively do the following:
- Get your customers to pay you more. Subtle price increases are usually welcomed by your customers, especially if there is corresponding value associated with the additional coin that you’re asking for.
- Get your customers to pay you more often. If your customers pay you twice a year, figure out a way for them to pay you three or four times a year. More transactions lead to more revenue.
- Get your customers to pay you for additional products or services. When you listen to your current customers, you may hear them talk about problems that they’re having, that you can solve with an add-on to your existing product/service or a completely new product/service.
So, determining if growth will come faster from acquiring new customers or from existing customers depends on your existing customer base. Simply put, small base, go get new business. Big base, an opportunity to increase value, sell more and often to the base.
Susan Young is the CEO of Get in Front Communications, an 18-year-old company that uses her online Story Magnets program to help entrepreneurs identify, write and deliver their business story in 5 easy steps. For more info: https://getinfront.lpages.co/storymagnets/.
SMALLBIZLADY: Why is there such a buzz around storytelling these days?
Susan Young: Brands can no longer “hide” behind one-sided stilted marketing messages. Social media demands that people want to connect with “the human factor” with people BEFORE they buy. They want to get to know you and what you stand for. Jargon and mission statements are unacceptable. We need stories because they stir us emotionally and can influence buying decisions. Stories –for thousands of years—have been the emotional connection that bonds human beings. From our earliest childhood memories when we were 3, 4 or 5 years old, we wanted to hear a bedtime story. It may have been Snow White, a Bible passage or a family anecdote, something that takes us on an adventure and lets us use our imaginations. It’s the same today with business. We must build rapport and connect with people on a human level. Savvy business owners “weave in our personalities” so readers and viewers get to know us as people. We can’t hide behind our brands. As entrepreneurs, the line is blurry because WE are the brand. WE are the message. Give people a chance to get acquainted. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability or a mistake you’ve made. By simply talking about an experience at a conference or at your daughter’s soccer game, you are opening up yourself and revealing some “lessons learned” that…when told with humility in just the right way…it will resonate with people who want to learn more about you. Stories allow us to break down barriers.
SMALLBIZLADY: How can a viewer figure out an appropriate story to share?
Susan Young: We can’t focus on our whole lives or the last six months and think of some A-ha moment. Typically, the best stories come from those mundane, routine “moments” that we often overlook. The key is to learn how to find the gem in the treasure chest and write your story in such a way that it’s relatable and memorable.
SMALLBIZLADY: What can business owners who aren’t good writers do to find their stories?
Susan Young: The magic is truly in the wordsmithing, you can’t be effective by “winging it.” Like any story, you must follow the “narrative arc of the story—a beginning, middle and end that has a logical flow to it. For nonwriters, you can simply record yourself telling your story like you would tell a best friend. Record it as an audio file on your phone, transcribe it, and then start editing.
Steve Olsher is known as the world’s foremost reinvention expert. Famous for helping individuals and corporations become exceptionally clear on their WHAT – that is, the ONE thing they were created to do – his practical, no-holds-barred approach to life and business propels his clients towards achieving massive profitability while also cultivating a life of purpose, conviction, and contribution. For more info: www.steveolsher.com.
SMALLBIZLADY: There’s a lot of talk about ‘new media’ and ‘podcasting’ — can you tell us the difference between ‘new media’ and ‘old media’ and why podcasting is a PULL medium?
Steve Olsher: New Media = Audio, Video, Social Media, Blogging, Mobile. Old Media = TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines. Pull media means that people ‘pull’ their desired content from their desired sites when they want it and onto their preferred device.
SMALLBIZLADY: You’ve been quoted as saying that there’s only ONE thing that separates businesses that thrive from those that struggle to generate meaningful revenue. What is it?
Steve Olsher: The ONE thing that separates businesses that thrive from those that struggle to generate meaningful revenue is visibility. Visibility = Credibility & Authority. Credibility & Authority = More leads, More enrollment conversations, More speaking gigs and More money.
SMALLBIZLADY: Why is it becoming increasingly difficult for business owners to generate the visibility they deserve?
Steve Olsher: Email open rates and social media activity are down. Cost Per Lead rates are rising. We are in product launch overwhelm. All of which makes differentiation more difficult.
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