No matter how big or small your business, there are things that an owner should do to make his business grow. At one time or another, every business owner has stayed awake at night and said, “What do I do now.” For some reason, things aren’t going as well as you think that they should.

We can look at recent events in GM – one of the biggest businesses in the world on the verge of bankruptcy. Kmart and Sears merged; many of the airlines have gone bankrupt. Enron was the largest company ever to file bankruptcy.

So the question is: “How do I make my business grow?”

In my previous articles I told you “How to open a business” and “How to find wholesale sources.” But that’s not the end of the story.

A few days ago, I was looking at some information that was quoted from The Kauffman Foundation by Michael Sexton of that stated “550,000 Americans start new businesses every month.” Later in the same article, he said that according to the U.S. Small Business Administration “At least two-thirds of new businesses fail within the first four years.”

This brings me back to the same question: “How do I make my business grow?”

Sometimes forces work against the business owner that the business owner cannot control. Again, recent events have impacted many people and in turn, businesses are impacted. For instance, the rising gasoline price is causing many problems around this country. The average person that travels 30 miles each way to work is spending $90 more for gas per month than this time last year. That $90 has to come from somewhere and we can see that it is beginning to affect everything from housing sales to the price of sugar at the store.

I know someone that owned a dollar store – where everything is a dollar. For a year and a half, sales were fine, the number of customers was increasing slightly each month and the owner thought about opening a second store and had already purchased shelving and was looking for a second location. But then it happened. The gas price started increasing and Tennessee began a lottery. Within a two-month period, sales halved in his store and for the next six months, sales continued to drop and after about three more months he was forced to close – after such a promising future.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Vince Lombardi who seems to me as the ultimate motivator. “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” Everyone gets knocked down in life, but sometimes it takes a very strong person to get back up and try again and again.

When you are trying to come up with ideas to help you grow your business, try to think like a customer would.

Walk outside and look around. Would you want to shop in this store? Is it pleasing to look at? Does it look inviting? Is the parking lot clean? What is the first thing you notice as you pull up to the store? Is the sign lit or is one of the letters out? Does it look like the owner and employees take pride in the store?

Now, walk inside. What do you see? Is it well lit? Are the aisles clear of clutter? I know that shelves have to be stocked, but is there a better way than piling lots of boxes down the aisle where people can’t get through to shop. Instead of bringing a lot of boxes out at once, perhaps just a few at a time. Is the clerk friendly? Are the sales people happy? I personally left a mattress store because the salesman was on the phone and did not acknowledge me or even say “I’ll be with you in a minute.” When I left after about fifteen minutes, I went to another store and spent $900. This illustration is to show you that how your employees relate to customers can help or hurt your business. We’ve all been there where you think that you are an inconvenience to the employee.

This is only a start to help you to “Make your business grow.”

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