How Leaders Master Business Growth and Avoid Being a Profitless Business
If you’re aiming for business growth and profitability, you’ll need to be well prepared for competing in a harsh, dynamic market. There’s no escaping it, change will always happen in business - the only constant is change.
Today, your competitor is not just another business, but virtually anyone who can do it better, faster or cheaper. How do you grow your business and compete in today’s market? How will you survive?
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO THRIVE?
In this constant change, the businesses that survive and thrive will be the ones most able to adapt to it. So if you have a team of people who are flexible and resilient enough to withstand change – you’re already a winner.
As Darwin said, survival will go not to the strongest, but to the ones that are most able to change. If you are doing the same things you have always done, but are expecting a different result, this is what is often considered as Einstein’s definition of insanity.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN FOR FINANCIAL SUCCESS?
Business profitability is the obvious aim, but for some businesses it’s about survival.
It is impossible to know what the marketplace will look like in ten years but you should have a vision of what you want your business to look like in ten years’ time, then work toward that.
We typically find this type of thinking difficult as it is beyond our normal thinking timeframes of a week, next month, this quarter or this year. But the best organisations set a vision at least ten years into the future that stretches and challenges their people to achieve.
With that ten-year goal in mind, we can then usually tell the general prognosis for the next 3 to 5 years in our business environment and make some deductions about what we should be cognisant of. It’s a little bit like planning a family driving holiday to a new destination. We know the general route, but then plan where we might stop, refuel, alternate routes etc. It’s the same for your business. Having said that, think about the following: Where do you want to be? Have you positioned yourself for industry success? How will you stand out and compete? Do you have the right capabilities? What will be your strategic moves in the marketplace to best position yourself on that business journey over the next 3 to 5 years? And then, what do you need to do to achieve that?
WHY DO BUSINESSES FAIL TO BE PROFITABLE?
The single biggest reason that companies fail financially is that they overinvest in what is, as opposed to what might be. Examples of investing in what might be are: to invest in your people (to develop them and build them as the leaders of tomorrow); to invest in new technologies that will reap you rewards in terms of automation; to invest in your customer service systems and processes and so on. Your market research should give you direction as to what this might be.
The key to success is to understand the facts and what the research shows you – that’s stuff you can’t argue with. Rely on solid research to give you the cold, hard truths. So many businesses are ‘blind’ to what is happening in their sector and operate in a vacuum of knowledge. Business owners and managers must ask “what are the industry trends”? What does the sector data tell you? What indicators are you monitoring to inform your decisions? Your gut is good – but data is best. You need, as Harold Geneen said, ‘the unshakeable facts’. This gets people from a position of ‘we think’, to a position of ‘we know’.
LETTING GO OF THE COMMON MYTHS
Business leaders need to re-frame their thinking in order to not only be successful but to survive. We must let go of some commonly held “truths” and myths as these tend to hold us back - what we think we know, but don’t.
Examples of this are questions we use on a daily basis:
- What is the most effective company growth strategy?
- What is the most effective revenue growth strategy?
- In communicating with customers, should you use charts and graphs, or words?
- Which is better: testimonials or demonstrations?
- Do customers prefer salespeople who are highly dependable, or who are highly competent?
- Is it better to grow into new markets, or within a primary one?
You’d be surprised how most people get these questions wrong. Imagine, so much of what we assume to be correct is actually incorrect.
Really think about the above questions and how your business manages these on a daily basis. Where do you invest your money and what can you change?
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