By using the power of leverage, you can grow your business exponentially. Leverage allows you to use other people or resources in a way that produces far more results than the amount of effort you have to expend.
Leverage is one of the secret weapons that the wealthiest people use to grow any type of business that they ever start. And leverage can be your secret weapon too.
Whether you want a huge business, or just a small one that gives you a nice lifestyle, you will still need to leverage real estate, people, technology, and time to your advantage.
Strategy #1 – Leverage Real Estate To Your Advantage
Unless you have a business that requires a physical storefront, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to office space. As long as you have an Internet connection and a telephone, you can run your business from pretty much anywhere.
In the beginning, many people work from home, except for those businesses such as restaurants that require a physical location for the customer.
There are many good reasons to consider starting from your home office, such as no commuting time, cost efficiency of bills you are already paying, a tax deduction for your home office, etc.
The biggest disadvantage to a home office is that it is harder to meet with customers, but you can solve this through some of the virtual office solutions that I talk about momentarily.
Another disadvantage to a home office is that you may get interrupted by other family members who don’t really think that you are “working” since you are at home.
If you do work from a home office, make sure you set up a separate work area that is your office, so you can have a space that feels like the company. If you don’t have the space for a separate work area, do your best to carve out something to make an area of an existing room feel like your office. It is good for you to have some separation between your personal life and your business life if you can do so.
You will also want to keep family members from interrupting you while you are trying to concentrate. To do this, you can shut the door to the separate work area, put up a sign that says “Do Not Disturb” on the door or back of your chair, etc.
Note that even if you do need a physical office to meet with customers, that office does not actually have to be in your own building.
For example, you can consider virtual office arrangements through such companies as DaVinci Virtual.
Most virtual office companies provide you with the ability to use their conference rooms for meetings, and with a “leased office” for the days you need it. There are tons of virtual office companies around the country, and many offer a mailing service where you can use their address for a professional company image. Some also provide a receptionist to greet your clients and/or answer your calls.
If you simply must have your own separate space due to the nature of your business, consider leasing space first. Leasing is better for new companies because it gives you flexibility to change more easily in the future if you need more space than it has, or if you do not have the revenue long-term to stay in business.
Once you have better picture of your plans and long term staying power, then purchasing an option where you will have equity over time may be a wise investment too.
The bottom line is that it is easy to leverage real estate that you already have since technology allows most people to work from anywhere with an Internet connection. And when you need other options, there are plenty of other options available for you as well without a hefty price tag.
Strategy #2 – Leverage Other People To Your Advantage
It’s difficult for one person to know or do everything, especially with the various subjects that must be managed to run a business. You should leverage other people and companies whenever possible. You should start with contractors first, because you can hire them on a project basis.
In addition to leveraging real estate, you should also leverage people. One of the hardest things for a business owner to learn is that you simply cannot do everything yourself, or you will end up having the worst job of your life. You will want to delegate everything you can to other people so you can focus on the most critical parts of the business that only YOU can do.
Furthermore, some great new ideas can come from getting input from other people. Each person has different experiences and perspectives. Some amazing results can be accomplished using a team approach instead of doing everything yourself. So even if you can do everything yourself, you should still think about whether you should do everything yourself.
You may be thinking, I sure have no problem delegating to other people, but I just cannot afford to do so. If so, you are not alone, because that is a common reaction. The great news is that it does not have to be expensive to hire people or companies to assist you, as you will learn momentarily.
So your next thought is probably, “OK, so even if I could afford to hire people, I don’t want to. No one can do these tasks as well as I can.” This too is a common reaction. In fact, one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to learn is the “art of delegation”.
As you will soon learn if you do not already believe this, it is nearly impossible for a business owner to do everything alone. Remember the task list above? There are just too many tasks that must be done in order to keep the business running, and there are simply not enough hours in the day for the business owner to do them all. For that reason, you should strive to delegate anything and everything that you reasonably can, so you can free your time to focus on the big picture for the business.
The first way to leverage other people is to use outside contractors. Especially while your business is new, contractors are a great way to get the work done.
The benefit to using contractors is that you can hire them without a long term commitment, like an employee would require. This gives you the flexibility to change directions without having the stress of having to let employees go, and all of the hassles that go along with that.
Another benefit to using contractors is that you can hire the right person for the project. Some projects you may need done will require one skill, while other projects may need another skill. I covered several great ways to find inexpensive contractors in Issue # 63 on “How To Get Work Done While You Sleep”.
When you are ready for employees, you can find the right person through referrals from others you know, or from online and newspaper advertising. When you do hire any employees, use a payroll company like PayChex or ADP to handle the payroll processing for you. Don’t try to do this yourself.
Strategy #3 – Leverage Technology To Your Advantage
Leveraging technology is the key to keeping your company running smoothly, as well as for accomplishing nearly any task you set your mind to.
There are several ways you can use technology to accomplish nearly any task. For example, you can perform sophisticated searches in Google to better find what you are looking for.
You can use online yellow pages such as Switchboard and Yellowpages instead of a paper phone book. You can upload files while traveling, or even access your computer remotely using software such as GoToMyPC.
You are no doubt aware that there are so many amazing ways to use technology in your business. Since technology changes all the time, just make it a priority to re-visit your technology needs periodically to see if some new piece of software or hardware can totally transform your business for a very nominal investment.
Strategy #4 – Leverage Time To Your Advantage
You can use time to your advantage, but you can also use time to your disadvantage. For example, if you frequently allow yourself to be interrupted, then you may only get a fraction of the results that you could get if you were totally focused.
What these distractions can lead to is either a feeling that you have no time for anything (even family and friends), or they can lead to the end result that things take way longer than they should to get done.
You already learned in the section on leveraging people that you should delegate things to others at every opportunity you get. The hard part to overcome is the fact that the other person may not do the task as well as you could do it yourself.
Look at it this way, though.
If you can delegate certain tasks to others that they can get 80% right, could you make it right in less time than it would have taken you to do it yourself from scratch? Or, is this the type of task that 80% right is acceptable so it doesn’t really matter anyway. In either situation, if the answer is yes, then that task SHOULD be delegated so you can free your time for the more strategic and critical tasks that only YOU can do.
In Issue #83, I shared the best strategy that I’ve ever encountered for leveraging your time to the fullest – which goes into more detail on this 80% principle. You can refer back to that issue if you need more details. But the key is to focus on having someone get the first 80% of a project done as fast as humanly possible, and then evaluate to see whether it even needs more work, or whether the 80% would be good enough to consider it done. In most cases, it will be.
Once you start implementing this 80% rule, you will be amazed at how much more time you have in your life, and how much more you accomplish in your business.
And when you combine the power of leverage through all four of these strategies, you can really super-charge your business growth and your own personal productivity. Give them a try, and see for yourself!
If you want to learn more ways to grow your business, then make sure you sign up for the special Business Mastery Training webinar that I am hosting.
We also cover other business strategies in more detail in our free business startup and growth training program. If you haven’t signed up for that free course yet, I highly recommend you check it out too.
*Originally published as Issue # 95 – May 23, 2012