Time and time again I have potential clients and colleagues ask me the magic question of running their own business: How do I go about increasing revenue. Obviously, that’s a pretty big ask, and the answer is going to be as diversified as the business. However, I like to recommend to those people a small list of tools that I know for a fact work in nearly any industry and in any market.
These tools aren’t magic bullets. They will take hard work to use. But, if you put the work in, they will almost certainly drive sustainable revenue growth for your company.
And, that isn’t some thing I just made up. I’ve personally seen these tools increase revenue in well over 50 different businesses.
There are tools and then there are ways of approaching your workflow. Rocks™ are one of the latter.
A Rock is a pretty simple concept. And, though it’s hard to really put a number on the benefit you get from it, it’s impossible to not see it.
Every quarter I have my team and my clients set 3-5 goals to accomplish. We set goals that challenge us to make the quarter an awesome growth quarter, things that really drive us towards growth. And they work! My team has increased revenue by 40% every year for 3 years this way.
So how does it work? Well, it’s both easy and difficult. The easy part is identifying the goals. You and your team choose the 3-5 things that absolutely must happen and then you commit to making them a reality.
The hard part is actually making them happen. Not because your team will find the tasks themselves challenging. No, the really hard part is sacrificing the other stuff you want to do.
When you set a Rock, you silently agree to ignore other things. And let me tell you, there will be other things that come up, things that are very tempting.
But, if increasing revenue is actually important to you, you set you wear your blinders like a friggin race horse. It’s not a pleasant experience at first. But, when you start racking up great quarters one after another, you and your team will see real, sustainable revenue growth.
Issues List & IDS
If there’s one tool that I tell people about no matter what their situation, it’s the Issues List™ and IDS Process™. I hate to say one size fits all, but ….well, it does. Not only is it key in increasing revenue. This tool brings efficiency to every aspect of your business.
So the Issues List is an extremely simple idea. You write down every single opportunity, problem, challenge, or other important conversation that you and your team need to have. It doesn’t have to be described in painstaking detail. In fact, if you can get it down in 3-4 words, that’s ideal.
Then, you turn that list into a living document. You keep that list somewhere visible and accessible. And, every time someone has something to add to it, they do. Simple, right?
Here’s where it gets fun. You use this tool called Identify, Discuss, Solve. You bring out your list in a meeting and invite someone to choose which issue they want to address first. Ideally, you start with the most important issue at hand. And, whoever calls out an issue first, you go with that.
You absolutely do not spend the whole meeting talking about which issue to talk about. That’s wasting time.
Once you identified the Issue, you spend as long as it takes to determine how to solve it. You do so respectfully and honestly, and you don’t stand up from the table til you have a solution.
I’ve written on this process extensively. Check out any one of my many articles on how to make this process work for you.
Let me be clear. I don’t think that you are so clueless as you don’t know how to make a to-do list. That would be a little surprising. If you don’t know what a to-do list is, increasing revenue is probably the least of your worries.
What I find is that leadership teams don’t know how to manage their to-do lists in a way that is actually effective. They put a ton of stuff on it, get a little bit done, and the list grows until it eventually becomes so inflated that it isn’t helpful at all.
But, if you really want to maximize your day-to-day progress while increasing revenue, you need to use your to-do list like a badass.
- Step 1: Put something on the to-do list
- Step 2: Tell someone that they have the power to hold you accountable to that list
- Step 3: On the same day next week that person asks if you did it
Your to-do list is supposed to be short and sweet. If it can’t be done in a week, it shouldn’t be on the list. Hold yourself 100% accountable for doing it in 7 days or less. And, let someone smack you over the head when you don’t.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.