By Michael Alden, President & CEO of Blue Vase Marketing
If you are in business, could 5% more on your bottom line change your world? The answer is yes. As a successful entrepreneur, I have launched several companies that generate millions of dollars year in and year out. The secret to achieving success like this is actually very simple: Just do 5% more each and every day, and you will see significant growth.
When I launched Blue Vase Marketing, we did more than US$9 million in revenue the first year. We started with credit cards, a little bit of cash and valued relationships I had developed over the years. Considering what we started with, our first-year revenue is impressive, but the following year we doubled the number to US$18 million, and in our third year we did more than US$30 million. Last year, we did close to US$50 million!
Some look at our growth and think it’s amazing and fast. I know it was the opposite. We slowly grew each and every department and added a little more each day, maybe 5%, each week or month, so that we could grow without imploding. These small changes early on increased our productivity and our cash flow and, ultimately, increased our revenue so that we could continue to grow.
Each week we grew our customer base and added more employees. More importantly, we looked at the business itself and how we could grow it as an entity. For example, in the beginning we had to use third parties to handle our shipping and customer service. It was not efficient or cost-effective, but we didn’t have the facilities or the manpower to do it ourselves. So at first, we added just one person, then two, then three, then four, and eventually we were able to handle customer service in-house. It saved our company thousands of dollars each week, made us more efficient and was better for our customers. We essentially did the same thing with our fulfillment department and our production department. This has dramatically increased our profitability.
If you want to implement a “5% MORE mindset,” please understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same thing you have been doing, but more of it. Sometimes it means becoming more aware, more in-tune and more willing to learn, to change and to grow in new ways. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Just because you are busy does not mean you are accomplishing anything.
Instead, you need to be accountable for your daily activity. You need to be honest with yourself about your accomplishments. One of the best ways to do this is to write down your goals for the day and the week, and each day look back at what you did and did not accomplish. Having a written system for your daily activity is crucial for success. Once you put your goals in writing, here are a few practical ways you can put the “5% MORE mindset” to work:
Spend 5% more time with your current customers: It is much smarter to spend a little more time with your current customers than to chase new leads. Your customers have already decided to buy from you. The key is to make sure that they are satisfied– or better yet, delighted– with your product or service.
Increase product/service prices by 5%: Don’t be afraid to increase your prices. People will pay slightly more, if you are providing something that adds value to their lives.
Increase results by 5%: Stop focusing on activities and focus on results instead. Looking at how to increase results, even by a small amount, will help you identify and eliminate actions that waste time.
Do something 5% differently than your competitors: Be a little more creative and think a little bit harder than your competitors. Whether it is going the extra mile in customer service, or offering a product that’s just slightly better than that of your competitors, makes the difference in winning sales.
Motivate your team to give 5% more: Your business will never grow, if your team keeps doing the same thing over and over again. Invest 5% more in training and supporting them, so that they can do the best job possible.
Remember in order to actually get 5% more, you need to take action. We are talking about only 5% and in many circumstances, even less. I’m not telling you to radically change your business or your life, because dramatic changes don’t work long term. I’m saying just do 5% more. You will be amazed at the results.
Michael Alden, author of 5% MORE, is the founder and CEO of Blue Vase Marketing, a multi-million dollar marketing firm that has been ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private firms in America. For more information, visit: www.michael-alden.com.