How to Grow Your Business on Autopilot

Donald Miller

Published: May 21, 2024

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Growing your small business into a self-sustaining, profitable entity doesn't have to be a pipe dream. It's entirely possible to go from being bogged down in the day-to-day to enjoying the freedom and flexibility you've always wanted.

How? By implementing a straightforward, 6-step plan that's been the backbone of success for countless entrepreneurs all over the world. It’s also the exact plan that grew Business Made Simple from 4 employees working out of a basement to a nearly 20-million dollar operation.

The reality is, you don’t have to work 80-hour, frantic work weeks to be a successful entrepreneur. When you understand the 6 key parts of building a business, you can finally have a business that generates predictable revenue and runs automatically so you can start living life on your own terms. 

So if you want to grow your business on autopilot, here are the 6 steps that will help do it.

Step 1: Define your mission with economic clarity

First things first, you've got to know where you're headed. And that starts with crafting an effective mission statement. This isn’t just about having a nice-sounding statement for your website. It’s about knowing exactly what your business aims to do and making sure that this goal will actually make you money. Think of it as setting your business’s GPS. Without knowing where you’re going and how to get there, you’re just driving around in circles.

A lot of business owners make the mistake of creating mission statements that sound great but don’t really connect to their revenue. Yes, it’s important to want to solve your customers' problems, but if solving those problems doesn’t bring in cash, your business won’t last long. Your mission needs to be the right mix of what you want to do and what will make your business profitable.

Having a great mission statement helps keep your business on the right track. Without this clear direction, you might end up making choices based on what feels good at the moment, rather than what’s actually good for your business. So, take the time to craft your mission statement in a way that reflects your economic goals.

Step 2: Craft a Clear Message and a Solid Plan

After setting your direction with a solid mission statement, it's time to focus on how you communicate with the world. Your marketing message needs to be as clear as a bell. It should immediately convey the problem you solve for your customers and why they should care

Confused customers don't open their wallets. They need to understand exactly what problem you solve and why it matters to them. If your message is hard to understand or too vague, potential customers will move on and buy from your competitors who communicate better—even if they have an inferior product. 

The best way to start honing your message is by creating a one-liner for your business. But a great message alone isn’t enough. You need a solid marketing plan to get that message in front of the right people at the right time. 

The most effective way to get and keep customers is using a sales funnel. Think of a funnel as a step-by-step process that turns someone who's never heard of you into a buyer. You can learn more about how to create a simple 5-part sales funnel here

Step 3: Develop a Sales Pitch That Converts

The best sales pitch in the world is the one that doesn't feel like a pitch at all. It feels like a solution to a problem. 

When it comes to sales, if you’re too pushy, you'll scare customers off. But if you’re too passive, they'll walk away. That’s why it can be difficult for many business owners to find the right balance. 

The secret is to focus on showing them how your product or service solves their problem in a way that's so clear and compelling, they're ready to buy. Remember, people don’t buy products. They buy solutions to their problems.

Instead of pushing your product’s features and benefits, you want to primarily talk about the problem your customer is experiencing and then position your product as the solution to that problem. By the end of your pitch, they should feel confident that your product is exactly what they've been looking for. 

Step 4: Optimize Your Offerings for Maximum Profit

Your products are the heartbeat of your business. But if they’re not dialed in for maximum profit, you’re leaving money on the table. So if you want to grow your business on autopilot, it’s time to evaluate and streamline your offerings. Which ones are bringing in the most cash? Those are the ones to focus on. 

Everything you sell should be making you a good profit. Making your offerings as profitable as possible doesn’t mean cutting corners; it means being smart. 

It also might be time to adjust your pricing strategy. Consider increasing prices—if you’re offering incredible value, don’t shy away from asking for what it’s worth. Or, think about bundling some of your related products together to sell more in a single transaction.

The point is this: you can market and sell all day long, but unless the products you’re selling are profitable, it won’t matter how many you sell.

Step 5: Install a Management and Productivity System

Chaos is the enemy of growth. If your days are overrun by constant impromptu meetings, a lack of project management, and having no clear communication channels, you’re just spinning your wheels. It’s time to get systematic by setting up regular, focused meetings. This effort can transform your team into a productivity powerhouse. 

If your team is constantly putting out fires, you're not operating efficiently. The truth is, you manage people, and people manage projects. When you can manage people effectively, your productivity will skyrocket.

You need to start having regular, proactive meetings with your team members. We recommend small businesses start with these 5 key meetings. The goal here is to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing, when it needs to be done, and what success looks like.

Step 6: Manage Your Finances with 5 Checking Accounts

Finally, we need to zero in on your finances. Think of cash flow as the oxygen your business breathes. Without careful management, your business can't survive, let alone thrive. Using 5 separate checking accounts might sound over the top, but it's a game-changer for handling your finances with clarity and control. 

Here’s how to break it down: one account for operating expenses, one for your personal salary, another for business profit, a fourth for taxes, and the last one reserved for investments. This 5-account system ensures you're never caught off guard or surprised by a big tax bill. You'll have a clear picture of where your money is going and why, making it easier to make informed decisions about your business's future.

Putting it all together

Putting these 6 steps into action is like lining up dominoes; once you start, everything else falls into place, setting your business on autopilot. This strategy creates an operation that runs smoothly, generates predictable revenue, and allows you the freedom to focus on what you love most. When you start to see your business grow and thrive with these systems in place, you'll wonder why you ever did it any other way.

Ready to transform your business? Our Small Business Flight Plan can help. Get your step-by-step digital and PDF playbook for growing your small business at smallbusinessflightplan.com.