In business conversations, the word leverage gets tossed around like a Frisbee at the beach, but as you grow your small business, don’t think for a minute that it’s a lightweight term you can take for granted.
Leverage in your small business means getting big results by maximizing an easy investment.
Leverage is how you make something big happen without risking tons of energy or resources you don’t have. A smart use of leverage multiplies your results without consuming all your resources.
As the days go by, and you get into a routine with your business, it’s easy to forget that you can harness a ferocious potential energy just by being able to identify what it is that you can leverage for the most impact.
I often find that projects tend to start strong, and then lose steam. Over time, the work gets juggled between too many people, or the money gets spent on extraneous things that you weren’t expecting up front, or you find yourself wasting too much time on a detail that doesn’t make much of a difference in the long run.
You are not alone, it’s easy to get diverted, or to make quick fixes that become par for the course.
In a previous post I explained how easy it is to leverage a piece of content to get your marketing message to more people in more channels, across more platforms on the web. This just makes sense. As long as you put the effort into writing, videotaping, recording or designing a great piece of content, you may as well get multiple uses out of it. That one idea can be spun into several different pieces of content to reach more people where they are socializing on the web. I gave some examples about leveraging your sharing potential help your ideas get more exposure.
This is exactly how I want you to think about the four main areas for potential leverage in your small business: money, people, technology, and systems.
First, lets talk about central role of the fulcrum for leveraging your business for success.
Just picture a lever. Take yourself back to high school physics class, and imagine it for a minute, because you’re going to see how this picture has so much value if you can make an analogy to your business…
Think about the fulcrum as the part that “just sits there.” It expends no energy. It is like the rock, anchor, or pivot point upon which force is exerted and something is moved. Yet without you’d have no leverage for small business growth.
Your best, easiest, most accessible talents and resources are your fulcrums for leverage.
I can’t define what leverage looks like in your business unless I know more about your business, but today I want to give you some examples to get you thinking how to better leverage what comes, quickly or easily in your business.
- Do you have a huge interconnected network? That’s a fulcrum you’d use to leverage people.
- Do you have hours of training videos and recordings? That’s a fulcrum that leverages a past investment in people, technology and time.
- Do you have a lot of cash in the bank? That’s a great fulcrum to have, and deciding where to leverage those funds is the most difficult part of investing! You may need to dig in deeper to find that secondary fulcrum for the most effective leveraging.
- Maybe you have an established system for conquering and dividing tasks or delegating work. That’s a fulcrum that leverages systems, a highly valuable resource that increases efficiency within a company.
- Do you have time because you’re new and just getting started, or because you’re on the sluggish side of seasonal work? Time is your fulcrum. You can leverage your time by making phone calls, attending events you usually can’t squeeze into your schedule, or neatening up your website.
The point is to use what you have.
You’ve heard the term “low-hanging fruit” to describe the easiest next sale. Well, you can think of your leveraging fulcrum that way, too. It’s your low hanging, easily accessible point around which the most action and energy pivots.
If you know you have a lot of good things going for your business, you may feel like you have a lot of tiny leveraging points you could access. But be careful not to spread yourself too thin. A powerful leveraging position comes from something you do really well, or some resource you possess in spades. Don’t try to leverage too much!
It may be a good idea to get an outsider’s point of view. Seeking an objective opinion from a business expert may be your best next move.
Because the best leveraging potential varies within a business at different points in time, every so often you need to step back and see where you’re best at making a big effect.
Then you can use the word leverage and know in your bones you know what you’re talking about, because you’ll have seen its effect in your own business.