Easy Ways to Build Up Your BusinessIf you've been sitting around wondering how to build up your business, it's time to roll up your sleeves. Because it's as true in business as it is in life: Waiting around for things to improve in your business won’t get the job done. For something good to happen, you have to make it happen.

So says Steve Tobak, a Silicon Valley-based strategy consultant, in an article appearing on Foxbusiness.com.

“Successful business owners make their own luck by constantly seeking to improve their situation,” he says. They understand that “day-to-day inertia, the status quo, is the enemy of business.”

To prove his point, Tobak cites the humble origins of several famous companies, such as McDonald’s (“started as a hot dog stand called The Airdrome”) and Kraft (“sold cheese door to door”). The hugely successful entrepreneurs behind these billion-dollar ventures made things happen. And not all of their tactics were Sisyphean. Some are so achievable they can safely be called "easy."

Here are ways for you to build up your business as well.

Go Into Turnaround

“We tend to think of turnarounds as bad things,” Tobak says. In fact, it’s often the first step toward a dramatic improvement in business operations.

“When you work too hard just to keep things running, you’re not likely to change anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. So make it necessary.” Putting action off until a later date only ensures nothing will happen to build up your business.

This will take serious attention on your part if you want to build up your business. You've got to be clear in your intentions, you must instill a sense of urgency in your team members, and you've got to be ready to drive real change.

Ask Others for Fresh Ideas on How to Build Up Your Business

Every business owner is so invested in his or her enterprise that it can be difficult to see things in a new light. Tobak’s advice? “Ask your employees for new ideas or what you need to do to improve.” But don’t stop there. Solicit input on how to build up your business from your spouse, your friends, your customers—“anyone who will tell you.”

First, seek out people who will be honest with you. Seek truthfulness above flattery. The fact is, getting advice from sycophants is rarely helpful.

Then you have to listen. “Don’t be defensive and don’t take it personally.”

Even if no great new idea lands in your lap, you’ll certainly benefit from getting views of your business and ideas on how to build up your business that you haven’t thought of yourself.

Run Some Numbers

Many business owners are driven by a real love for what they do, “but numbers and spreadsheets give them a headache.” Unfortunately, no business lasts long by neglecting its financial side.

I'm reminded of the advice from a New York Times small business column a couple of years back. A small business owner had claimed "I'm not a numbers person!" To that, the columnist, Jay Goltz, responded:

"Stop saying that. You shouldn’t keep telling yourself negative thoughts. It’s like someone who is trying to lose weight who keeps saying, 'I can’t lose weight.'"

That said, in the short term, while you're figuring out how to become better with numbers, you may need to bring in reinforcements if you truly want to build up your business. As Tobak says, “If you’re no good with numbers, then hire someone who is.”

A good hard look at your numbers is likely to be an eye-opening experience.

Clear Your Head

A feeling lurks in the back of your mind that there are “things you’d like to do or should do,” but these things can often be suppressed because change is scary. Or the ideas are suppressed because it would take too much work to convert your thoughts into action. But the consequences of inaction include “sitting quietly by while your business goes down the drain.”

Instead, Tobak advises, take some time away from the business. “Go off somewhere quiet, relax, and see what pops into your mind.” A great new direction for your business could be lurking right now in your subconscious. Give it a chance to rise to the surface.

Find a Partner

Getting the right partner for your business is all about “sharing the work, the burden, the stress” and “having someone to bounce ideas off of.” It’s not an ideal solution for everyone, but it’s worth considering as a way to get double the energy behind building up your business.

Which of these tips will work best to build up your business depends on your particular circumstances, your business, and your temperament. The goal is to get you to see things differently and take action—whatever shakes you out of languishing in the status quo is a good thing.

What ways have you devised to build up your business?

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