Help Your Small Business Grow With These 5 Tips

blog Dec 20, 2022

“Revenue is vanity, profit reality and cash is sanity.”

I love this saying as it captures a very important paradigm for growing a small business.

I have seen many small businesses fail even though revenue was growing rapidly, and the business was profitable, as the owner did not keep an eye on cash flow.

So, always keep the above saying in the back of your head, in addition to the following, being my stand out tips from over 30 years of experience working with small businesses.

I have seen many businesses succeed by following these, but have also seen many FAIL as they thought they knew better.

There are many blindspots for small businesses - you don’t know what you don’t know!

Keep it simple, and follow the ‘less is more’ approach, as we tend to over complicate things too often.

1. Know Your Numbers

It might sound obvious, but you need a fairly solid understanding of business financials for a business to survive, let alone thrive.

Most small business owners are good technicians and have an in-depth understanding of their industry, but many don’t understand how to price their products and / or services to make a profit. 

Typically, prices are too low, and with no understanding of break-even costs. 

Business skills and acumen are just as crucial as your trade or product, but you are rarely taught this. 

Regular financial reporting is critical, so having accurate and timely financial reports must be a priority. 

If your business has stock and / or work in progress, you must have a process for measuring this in line with your reporting periods.

Software is a great tool for stock management, such as the many Point Of Sales options in the market.

Having a forecast is also an essential tool for managing your business for growth.

Building a forecast around your key ‘drivers’ is the best approach on two levels:

  • You can set targets for your team and have a collective focus with respect to achieving - more powerful than just setting revenue targets, and
  • You can run scenarios and see the anticipated results - which is great for planning.

There are two forecasts; Profit & Loss and Cash Flow, and both have their place….but CASH IS KING!

Don’t be afraid to outsource the preparation of a template if nobody in your business has the appropriate skills. 

This is a great investment.

Ratios are another important source of numbers to help you manage and grow your small business.

“What can be measured, can be managed.”

Some common ones are:

  • Gross profit: determines how much money is actually left over after you’ve subtracted the cost of your goods or services. It is calculated:
    • Sales price less cost to produce goods or services = gross profit
  • Stock turnover: the number of times your stock has been replaced in a year and generally, the higher the better. It is calculated:
    • Cost of goods sold divided by average inventory 
  • Debtor days: the average days to collect your accounts receivable. It is calculated:
    • Accounts receivable divided by annual sales multiplied by 365 days

You must prioritise time, money and energy into becoming better at business. 

Having those basic business fundamentals will help you on the path to success.

In podcast episode 124 Troy interviews Alan Miltz, the Co-founder and Director of Cashflow Story, a technology company based in Melbourne, Australia. 

Cashflow Story helps business owners, managers and financial coaches understand what the numbers mean in the simplest way possible to improve their profit, cash flow, and value. 

“Everyone in your management team needs to embrace the numbers and know what they can do to make better decisions.”

2. Mindset matters

When I owned my first business, I didn’t have the confidence to really build something successful.

My limiting beliefs got in the way of me achieving what I was capable of. 

My mindset was all wrong and I didn’t think like a business owner. 

I didn’t want to take risks, and I was terrified of making mistakes or failing. 

I’ve now changed my mindset, and realised fear causes hesitation and procrastination. 

I can now control my fear and see it as a factor for success. I am not an imposter.

Fail fast, fail hard and learn from your mistakes.

Listen to podcast episode 289 with Rachael Downie who talks about the ‘Knowing Doing Gap’ and the importance of mindset.

Rachael has also got a book which we recommend reading “The Secret Million Dollar Paradigm: Your Formula for Success”.

When you identify your key habits and behaviours that are holding you back you will be impressed with how productive and effective you can be and how you can transfer this out to your team.

3. Become an expert 

When you start and grow a small business, you’re an expert in your products and / or services, within your business. 

No one knows more about your business than you do, so position yourself as an expert. 

By promoting yourself as an expert, people will naturally begin to gravitate towards you and value what you have to offer. 

It builds their trust and confidence in you and your business, and takes the pain out of selling.

People who respect your expertise will willingly buy from you.

Branding and marketing can assist in this space, with content marketing a great approach.

To be successful in today’s business environment, businesses must obsess over the questions, concerns, and problems their buyers have, and address them as honestly and as thoroughly as possible. 

Every day, buyers turn to search engines to ask billions of questions. 

Having the answers they need can attract thousands of potential buyers to your company - but only if your content strategy puts your answers at the top of those search results. 

It’s a simple and powerful equation that produces growth and success: “They Ask, You Answer” and position your business as the expert.

4. Invest in yourself

If you are not continuously learning over your business journey, you need to get out!

The majority of small business owners we have interviewed on our podcast have invested significant money and time in upgrading their skills in marketing, copywriting, business strategy, HR and all the other stuff for running a successful small business.

This meant they have been able to grow their small business, while also improving the skills of their team members.

Reading or listening to books, listening to podcasts, attending presentations (live or virtual) are great ways of investing in yourself and your business.

Members of our Community get our recommendations for the best books on specific topics, which can save you time and money in trying to find the best ones for growing your small business.

Join our Community.

A great resource for finding presentations of great speakers is the Growth Faculty.

Business coaches and mentors also help you learn and grow. 

I’ve had mentors and business coaches for the past 30 years, who have all been so important in helping me get to where I am today. 

5. Lead by example

If you don’t believe that your business will succeed, neither will your team. 

You must lead by example, and inspire your team to work towards your vision and mission.

Working in all the different roles within your small business from time-to-time, is a great way to lead by example and for operational improvement.

As a leader, you must own your mistakes. 

You are human after all.

You need to lead with integrity, and build an environment where you can all be honest when things don’t go to plan.

Vulnerability is very powerful, and builds trust.


Regardless of whether your small business is growing, there are still plenty of lessons for you to learn, and mistakes to make along the way. 

But that’s OK. 

This is a journey to enjoy, so embrace the ups-and-downs.

None of us have a business crystal ball, so be open to new opportunities, because you never know what’s around the corner

Our ‘Business Transformation Program’ helps small business owners with 5 to 30 team members, grow their business, with ease.

The Program will help you unlock time and improve productivity, in addition to providing a framework for growth.

 It includes:

  • The 'Business Growth Formula' online course (strategy and leadership)
  • The 'Kick-Ass Manager' online course (become a better manager, and develop the other managers in your business)
  • An Accountability Group, with up to nine other business owners (a monthly group coaching webinar, a one-on-one monthly call and unlimited emails with your Group Chair)

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence” 

Vince Lombardi