When you first start your business you want to be everything to everyone. Every sale is a huge achievement. But once you have passed the startup/growth stage and are ready to take that next step it is all about having and obtaining the right customers. This is where true wealth is created, this is where you are actually building a business compared to just making an income.
Over the past 6 years we have learnt some valuable lessons in business at Astute Theory. Being that we are a Melbourne based Accounting and Consulting firm we don’t have a huge population to offer our products and services to. When you do a comparison lets say a state like California that has a population pushing 40 million compared to Victoria that hovers around 5-6 million. So with a smaller market, our initial strategy was to get in front of every possible customer, because everyone was a potential lead. This was perfectly fine during our initial growth and startup phase but, this strategy would never allow us to grow into the sustainable business firm we desired. Our entire business philosophy and direction changed when we learnt to say “NO”.
During one of our annual strategy meetings, we made a decision that our company was mature enough to not chase every customer in every industry. Instead we ourselves became selective on who we worked with. We decided that in order for our company to grow in a sustainable manner, we needed to target key industries where organisations were experiencing large levels of accelerated growth (depending on your product or service your focus will differ than ours). The question then came about, how do we find these organisations? Luckily at Astute Theory we have the internal resources to conduct such research and strategic planning to capitalise on the change of direction.
We highly suggest hiring a firm to conduct the research of key industries to focus on, but once this is done you need to execute it and this is where you need to be comfortable with the word “NO”.
With the research complete you will have a very clear understanding of what type of customer you are looking to attract and here comes the hardest part. Under no circumstance do you sway from this direction, no matter how lucrative the offer may be, if a potential client approaches you that is not in your agreed industry you must say “NO”. I know what you are thinking, this is insanity, you are throwing away money. Incorrect, you are establishing yourself a brand and a section of the market that you are going to dominate in the long term. This is where the true value of your business is determined, it is never determined from a once off sale, reputable investors only consider businesses that have proven REPEATABLE sales avenues.
So find an industry, get a plan and most importantly stay the course…