Analysis paralysis. At least that’s what it feels like when an entrepreneur tries to think about how to grow or improve their business. They don’t want to ruin what they have and the ignorance it took to start their business gets replaced with overthinking that can be expensive and time consuming. Granted, an entrepreneur has more to lose when their business is off and running, so they must tread carefully. Growth is necessary because an entrepreneur knows that if they are not growing or improving, their business will atrophy. But how do you grow or improve your business if you have never done it before? Baby steps.
Generating profit is hard to do. In a small business where every person is maxed out and resources are hard to come by, entrepreneurs can struggle with improving their bottom line. I think entrepreneurs need pressure points to perform against. Starting a business means your pressure point is getting enough customers that you can earn a decent living. Moving from a start-up to an operating business means your pressure point is being able to build a team and delegate. Growing an operating business means your pressure point is – everything! Growing or fixing a business requires that an entrepreneur be fully engaged which can leave little time for thinking about how to make improvements. Creating new products and services may be excited but it takes time and money. For entrepreneurs that are relatively comfortable with their circumstances, improving something that isn’t broken doesn’t seem like a priority. But sometimes simply being better at what your business already does can have a major impact on your bottom line.
Dick’s Sporting Goods announced their Q3 results which were so good they decided to increase the goals they were going to hit by the end of the year. 13% growth is hard to do under normal circumstances, much less when you are in a crowded market fighting for the dollars that consumers are spending. When you are a company valued at more than $3 billion dollars, double digit growth is hard to come by. So what happened? Going into the holiday season, Dick’s Sporting Goods has seen an increase in online sales and foot traffic in their retail locations. What are the reasons for the increase in traffic? There are probably many reasons but it seems to be widely agreed that Dick’s has a premium footwear offering, fast e-commerce delivery times and better in-store experiences for customers. What’s interesting is that they haven’t created new products or services for their customers but rather have decided to be better at what they already do and have trusted that the results will speak for themselves.
If you find that you don’t have the energy to chase down a new market or to create a new product or service, try revisiting what your business already does. There may be some low hanging fruit that your business can pick away at by looking at the different aspects of your business in a new way. How could you improve your customer experience? How could you improve your online presence? How could you improve your internal processes to remove friction and save your team time that could be better used? Opportunity is everywhere – you just need to look.