Recently, I introduced the Business Wealth Builder® Growth Manifesto. The first point is to develop a growth strategy. In good times, it’s easy to grow. In fact, many companies grow in spite of themselves, their strategies, and their lack of proactive management. They just answer the phone or email and fill the order.
That’s not a growth strategy. That’s just customer gravity pulling you up.
Those times never last. Business must weather many storms as technology impacts customers, social trends shift buying patterns, and politics, weather, and government forces change the landscape.
Storm clouds on the horizon.
Photo by Phil Symchych.
Resilient businesses are prepared for slower times. Here is a strategy process and several powerful tactics to grow in slow times. These also work very well in good times.
- Clarify and articulate your strategy from the perspective of the measurable results that you create for your customers.
- Use your value statements to help you to promote your value and attract your ideal customers.
- Strengthen your value statement and create new value offerings that generate results for your customers and margins for you. You can do this by combining your offerings and by learning what else your customers need and want that you can deliver. Just ask them.
- Analyze your existing customers by revenue, profit, volume, potential, and lifetime value. Rank them into “A, B and C” levels. If they’re not profitable, either make them profitable by strengthening the relationship and value (and higher pricing) or let them go.
- Analyze your products and services by revenue, profit, and value to customers. Rank them into “A, B and C” levels. If they’re not profitable, either make them profitable or kill them. If you don’t kill them, they might take you down.
- Be proactive with your best customers and clients. Don’t wait for them to call you. Go and visit them. Think and act like a consultant: Give them ideas on how to improve their revenues, profits, quality, speed, and brand.
- Create a marketing strategy to attract new business from your existing “A” customers and your ideal prospects. In my experience, businesses don’t have cash flow problems; they have marketing problems. Use marketing to improve revenues, profits and cash flow.
- Measure your capacity and look for ways to improve efficiency and become scalable. One client grew from $26 million to $37 million in annual revenues in one year, or 40% revenue growth and 293% profit growth, because we put systems in place to scale up and meet customer demand.
- Always be looking for new ways to service your best customers.
- Always be looking for new customers outside of your core industry or geography.
- The world is a small place. Use technology to connect with your target market wherever they are located. Later today, I’m hosting a meeting of global small/medium enterprise advisors from three continents and four countries, without leaving my house.
- Most innovation occurs on the periphery of what you’re doing and what someone else is doing. Travel and explore what others are doing so you can bring these ideas back to your customers.
- My best clients serve on industry boards, participate in peer groups, and travel internationally on a regular basis to expand their knowledge and their networks.
- A quick calculation for innovation is to measure your revenues and profits from new services, products, or offerings that did not exist five years ago. What’s your score?