As a SME owner, it’s vital that you develop strong strategies that align with your goals, passion and direction. If you do that, your business is more than likely going to grow.

If like us, you’re a little over the usual “expert advice”, Mike Michalowicz, a very successful entrepreneur, has shared his top lessons for small business owners that are all about growing your business. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on these.

Mike’s lessons are less traditional, he takes rather an unconventional and “real” approach than we often see in the business world. And even better, Mike’s actually tested these strategies in his own business – I’m sure you can figure out how they worked out for him.

Lesson 1: Use Your Business Plan as a Brief Guideline, Don’t Restrict Yourself To It

Business plans are great tools to get a small business on the right track. They give you a structure for the rigor and discipline needed to move forward. However, Mike’s doesn’t necessarily agree.

According to “the pro”, business plans create a static and unbending vision of where you should be heading. They should be an effective directional tool that leads your business where to go, right? This is true. However, it could prevent your business from the natural shifting and growing that’s necessary for your small business to success and flourish.

Chances are you’re in between the two opinions. Having a business plan is a great starting point, but if you stick too strong to it – you are doing your business a large disfavor.  This is where many businesses often go wrong!

This is similar to a target audience. It’s great to have an idea of who you want to attract as clients, but it’s important to not put all your eggs in one basket. If a business is growing authentically as it should, your products will end up serving a completely different group than what you originally assumed. So make sure to keep the doors open for any new potential clients and let nature take its course.

Lesson 2: Don’t Pivot, Align Instead.

Many experts believe that pivoting is the key to business survival. Pivoting is all about knowing when and how to adapt to change, but Mike (along with many other professionals) believe that this is just nonsense. He suggests aligning is a much more successful option. If your clients need change, yes, you have to adapt to what they want. But don’t pivot, align! Because you need to ensure that the actions you take stay true to your business and differentiate you from your competitors along the way.

All businesses need to do less pivoting and more listening to their community (especially the online community) – that way businesses can align their messages, products and services with theirs.

Lesson 3: Don’t Ask For Referrals from Clients – If You Have To Ask, You’re Not Good Enough

The concept of asking your own clients for referrals is not only inefficient but can be completely awkward. If you have ever asked, you understand how embarrassing it can be. At the end of the day, if you were performing fabulously, you’d have clients putting their hands up to refer you. Not only is it incredibly embarrassing, clients will feel obligated to throw some names your way and chances are these people won’t be your ideal clients.

What Can You Do Instead?

Take a few minutes to brainstorm some ways that you could improve your customer service (and get more referrals!). Instead of going the easy road, start by taking a longer and more thought out approach. Then start thinking about how you can encourage them to refer you to their clients, friends, family and well.. everyone. Have you thought about implementing a referral program? They are a great marketing tool and work a treat. But make sure you offer something your clients will love – you might try asking them what that is.

It’s a win/win for all – you’ll love it and most of all, your client will love it. Not only will you get some great referrals, but your client will also get something in return for their favour.

If we can help you better service your clients, by giving your back your most precious resource, time – by organising to answer your calls, helping you organise your meetings or look after your admin, we’d be delighted to help. You can call us on 9994 8000 or you can drop us a note.