Sustainable ways to grow your business is something we talk a lot about at Actionable. As a business owner myself, I know the struggles of the “hamster wheel” of marketing-selling-delivery. Rinse, repeat. In hindsight, I wish I’d figured out sooner how to move my services-based consulting business into a scalable, product-based one.
These three books are ideal for business owners who are still looking to master their own stable growth model, and helped me during key phases of business building.
Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler
The authors of Predictable Revenue are masters of business growth, leading their own businesses that teach clients how to systematize their sales processes. It’s one thing to successfully grow revenue, but unless you know what triggered your growth, you’ll struggle to repeat it, which is often one of the biggest sources of frustration for small business owners.
The authors outline a formula for creating a sales machine: from prospecting, to lead generation, to fundamentals for creating repeatable sales success. I inhaled this book in a weekend, and made changes to my business immediately afterwards, particularly in how I built and tracked my sales pipeline.
The Automatic Customer
I first read John Warrilow’s work in the excellent Built to Sell, and heard him talk about scaling service-based businesses as a guest on Actionable’s 21st Century Workplace podcast. He is an expert on helping small business owners scale their businesses by moving away from customized, difficult to repeat, service delivery businesses.
In Automatic Customer, Warrilow outlines why more businesses are going the route of building recurring, subscription based revenue models, and how to grow your business using these tactics, whether as a significant change to your focus, or as a way to generate a small element of recurring revenue. The book outlines nine different subscription models, and tactics for how to build them into your business.
If implementing a subscription model isn’t part of your business plan in the short term, this book will challenge you to rethink that decision.
Growth Hacker Marketing
I was late to the Ryan Holiday party, after learning about him through Tim Ferriss’s podcast. Growth Hacker Marketing has been out for a couple of years, but is a classic book on how to think differently as you grow your business. Instead of focusing only on how to draw in new customers (which becomes an endless grind, particularly for small business owners), Holiday’s approach looks at mining deeper data about what you can do to extend your relationship with your current customers, by using their behavior data to trigger ideas for ongoing improvements.
The biggest takeaway for me from this book was the push to step back from the marketing tactics in your business to think more holistically about the full customer relationship lifecycle, and the touch points within it. By finding and analyzing customer data, you can find opportunities to make small changes that can have significant revenue shifts for your business, by extending and deepening your relationship with your existing customers.
Sustainable business growth doesn’t have to feel like a hamster wheel. The ideas and mindset shifts in these books can help you build find ways to create new growth and success in your business, without having to double your working hours to make it happen.