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Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.netYou’ve heard it said that it’s not what you know, but who you know that can help you get ahead. That is definitely the case when it comes to growing your business or taking your company to the next level. Having a strong network and social support can help you grow your business. Building up that network can take time but is often worth it in the long run. Here’s why being social can pay off.

You Get Inside Information

Harvard Business Review recently published a study examining the difference between male and female champagne grape growers. More grape growers are male than female, which might seem to set the female growers up for unfair treatment or otherwise put them at a disadvantage. But HBR’s study found something else entirely. Women growers were able to ask for and receive higher prices for their grapes than male growers.

The authors of the study chalked the female grower’s advantage up to their ability and willingness to be social with each other. Since they were in the minority among growers, women tended to bond and to form relationships and networks with each other. Those networks led them to share information about pricing, which in turn allowed them to get more competitive rates for their grapes than the male growers. Meanwhile, the male growers were likely to insist that no one shared pricing information with each other, a belief that prevented them from getting a higher price for their grapes.

You Get Support When You Need It

Another benefit of being social is that you develop a support system. Then, when you have a concern or need help solving a business problem, you have people to turn to who might already have an idea of how your company runs and what it might need to take the next step or otherwise advance.

You Can Get Referrals

Many businesses get a lot of their customers from referrals. When you know people, and they know what you do, they are likely to recommend you to others who might need what your company has to offer. But people are only going to recommend you or refer you if they know you and have a connection to you.

Likewise, you can also refer your customers to a member of your network if you know that your customers are looking for something your fellow business owner offers. Referrals don’t just help your business or your colleague’s businesses grow. They also reinforce trust within your business network.

How to Network

Knowing how to network and connect with other businesses or other business owners is a key part of using your network to help build your business. There’s a fine line between networking and socializing and expecting everyone in the room that be always willing to solve your problems.

The most important thing to remember is that networking is a two-way street. Think about what you have to offer your network before you ask for help or advice. You don’t want to be the person who shows up to a networking event and expects everyone there to immediately help you nor do you want to be the person who’s only ever asking for advice.

If a member of your network does help you out or give your some advice, find a way to reciprocate. You might refer others to his or her company, for example, or hire his or her company the next time you need that particular service.

Remember that being social isn’t the same thing as being a freeloader. The people in your network are also in business. They depend on other paying to benefit from their skills or service. It’s acceptable to ask for simple advice and to ask a question or two. But if you want more in-depth guidance, it’s better to hire the person you’re networking with, rather than continue to try to get information for free.

Great relationships are key to your business’ continued growth and success. New Direction Capital takes our relationships with our clients very seriously, with the goal of helping those we work with grow. To learn more about our CFO services, contact us today.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apply Highest and Best Use Concept to Running Your Business

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In some cases, terms that are commonly used in one industry, such as real estate, can also apply to other industries and fields, with a small amount of tweaking. One such term is “highest and best use.” Commonly used in real estate to determine how to use land, applying the concept of highest and best use to your business can also help it to grow or to help it develop a strategic plan.

What is Highest and Best Use?

In real estate, highest and best use is a principle used when a parcel of land is being zoned and/or appraised. The value of land is closely tied to how an owner uses it. For example, if the owner of a plot of land in the business district of a big city decides to build an office tower on the land, that is generally a better use of it than if the owner decided to build a shopping center on the land. Setting up a farm on a plot of land in a rural area is generally a better use of that land than creating a parking lot, especially if the area is sparsely populated.

The location of the land isn’t the only factor that comes into play when determining highest and best use. Competition and timing also play a part, as does the physical limits of the land itself, legal barriers and and finances. If a lot of other companies are constructing office buildings in the same area, at the same time, deciding to build your own office tower might not be the highest or best use of that land.

How it Can Help Your Business

The principle of highest and best use doesn’t have to be restricted to the area of real estate. You can also apply a similar concept when making decisions for your company. The principle works when deciding how to spend your time, whether to make a hire or to outsource a certain role or task, or whether to keep a product or discontinue it.

Let’s look at the principle of highest and best use when it comes to your time, either as the CEO, president or owner of your business. You want to find ways to spend your time that create the greatest return on investment for your company and that help your company become as valuable as possible. But, if you are spending your days making sure that your employees are completing their assignments or tasks, you’re most likely not making the highest and best use of your time as a CEO. Instead, it might be in your company’s best interest for you to spend your time laying the groundwork for the business’ next step or figuring out how to move the company forward.

Deciding to hire a new employee or to outsource certain tasks to a virtual CFO can help you make the highest and best use of your time as the CEO. But, the principle also comes into play when deciding to outsource or hire someone.

Outsourcing certain roles lets your current employees make the best use of their time, especially if the position you are outsourcing involves tasks or assignments that only need to be performed sporadically. Instead of having your administrative assistant try to solve any IT problems that arise, outsourcing those tasks to a vendor can be the best solution for all involved. The same is true when it comes to your company’s financial records. If you have been handling them, hiring a part-time bookkeeper or working with a virtual CFO allows you to make the highest and best use of your time and energy, and the highest and best use of that person’s talent and time.

The team at New Direction Capital wants to help your business grow and succeed. To learn more about what you can do to make the highest and best use of your company and of your time, give us a call today.

Ways to Grow Your Business Faster

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Owning a successful business involves much more than simply making sure it is able to complete day to day operations. At some point, a successful business will need to grow, so that it can increase its profits or take the next step forward. Although there may be a few companies out there who have managed to survive by staying the same as they were at the beginning, the majority of companies that thrive do grow and change over the years.

If your company is beginning to stagnate, that is more likely than not a sign that it’s time to take the next step and bring your business to the next level. Some ways of growing a business take longer than others and require more strategic planning. Other steps will get you to growth quicker.

Expand

One way to literally grow your business pretty quickly is to expand it. An expansion can take several forms. You can open a new office on the other side of town, open a branch in a new state, or add on to your existing work space. Expanding can also mean taking on new staff so that you can handle an increase in customers or clients.

There are a few things you want to be aware of before your company expands. The need for the expansion has to be there. If people have been using your services less and less over the past years or months, increasing those services might not make sense. New Direction Capital can help you examine your company’s needs and develop a strategic plan for expanding.

Sell More

The more you sell, the more revenue your business will bring in, and the better position it will be in for growth. You can increase the sales your company makes in several ways. First, you can focus more on selling the products and services you currently offer. Think of ways to make those products or services more attractive to customers or of ways to reach a new market or demographic with the same product or service. If your current client base consists mainly of other businesses, consider if there is a way to sell your services or products to a client base made up of consumers.

Another way to increase sales and to grow your business is to offer more items or services for sale. Think of complementary products that can be packaged together. If one of your bestselling products is a broom, for example, consider also selling a dust pan, as people in the market for a broom are often also in the market for a dust pan. Make sure customers are aware of the benefits offered by the new products or services your business is offering. Highlight how a new service will help them more than simply using the original service offered.

Partner Up

Sometimes, the best way to grow your business is to join forces with a company that offers a similar or complementary product or service. The ports of Tacoma, WA and Seattle, WA provide an illustration of the benefits of teaming up for growth. The two ports had been fierce competitors for decades, fighting over the same market share. At the same time the two ports were competing with each other, they were also competing against a port in neighboring British Columbia.

Joining forces means that both ports benefit, whether a shipping company decides to use Tacoma or Seattle. Tacoma doesn’t have to worry about losing customers to Seattle and Seattle doesn’t have to worry if a company decides to use Tacoma, as the companies are aligned. The partnership has also helped reduce costs for the two ports. Instead of each working individually to make improvements, the two are planning on working together to make improvements that make the most sense from a financial and investment standpoint.

Growth is a must, but too much, too quickly or not enough, too slowly can negatively impact your business. To learn more about your options for growth and whether it’s the right step for your company now, or how you can prepare for it in the near future, contact New Direction Capital today.

What are your thoughts on business growth?  Do you have other suggestions?  Feel free to comment below!


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