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4 Business Essentials to Maximize Growth

4 Business Essentials to Maximize Growth

Networking is a magical exchange of value between one individual and another.  Over the course of the past week, I’ve been fortunate enough to sit down with some amazing professionals in various industries across the greater Chicago area and converse with them about what’s working, what’s not working and what we can do for each other to boost both business and the bottom line.  I’ve come to the realization throughout this experience that really only 4 things matter when it comes to sustainable business growth.

Relationships.

They are the backbone of business and without them a company/organization ceases to exist.  Networking is essential to the growth of your net worth.  Of the 13 individuals I sat down with, each conversation lasting between 2 to 4 hours, I recognized how amazing each individual was, how much potential they had, how much value they were adding to the Chicago community and how that was impacting communities around the world. Each of these relationships was formed over a period of time, starting from a simple connection on social media, to a phone conversation, to later meeting each individual in person.  These relationships, whether I’ve personally reached out or we were connected through a mutual friend, have been vital to both my own growth and the growth of my business.  The most successful individuals grow their network so that when a problem arises, they have immediate access to the solution, allowing it to consume less time, less money and causing less stressed.  This fundamental key to success sets individuals and organizations apart.

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Product.

The product is the most essential element to a successful business.  But a product not packaged and positioned properly will always fail no matter how great it is.  Learning to sell a product isn’t difficult.  Learning to position your product with simplicity leads to greater quantity of sales in a smaller period of time.  Regardless of what the product is, what its value in the marketplace is, or how much it costs, one thing remains the same: it has to appeal to consumers’ emotions, or it won’t sell.  When consumers have an emotional attachment to your product or service, nothing else matters.  What I mean is this: let’s say, for example, you go to buy an ADT Security System–it isn’t the system you’re buying, it’s the emotion of security and peace of mind.  The same is true for all things in life; it isn’t what you’re selling, but our emotional attachment to that product or service that we, as consumers, are purchasing.

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Processes.

Each of us is a slave to convenience.  If the phone is not charged, we leave the house when it is.  If our gym bag is not packed, we won’t go to the gym.  When we’re in the store, we buy what’s convenient, not necessarily what’s healthy.  If we make the process for both ourselves and our consumers simple, easy, and convenient, our ROI automatically and dramatically increases.

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People.

There is no bigger asset to an organization than its people.  People are everything.  If you don’t take care of your people, they won’t take care of you.  Employees, contractors, and commissioned sales people are no longer just looking to hold a position within an organization; they are looking to lead, help, encourage, and set the tone of the organization’s future.  They want to be involved in decision making, have leeway on projects, be directed and guided–but not told what to do–while at the same time having flexibility when it comes to choosing their schedule.  Providing these small benefits can make a world of difference.

These 4 elements are present in every successful business, and they should be present in yours.  Learning how to build relationships, position your product, systematize your processes and take care of your people will help you build a solid foundation for long-term sustainable growth within your organization.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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