Here are the three essentials of a growth culture, a few key questions to challenge your thinking and a handful of helpful tips to get your growth started.
Today many companies are growing profits faster than sales, thanks in no small part to automation and cost cutting, which isn’t sustainable and sometime sooner or later they are going to need a sales growth strategy – as there’ll be nothing left to cut.
There are many businesses with a wonderful heritage and a strong legacy that are no longer growing and are happy just to see that back of last year and the start of a new year to face the same old same old.
What type of growth do you want to achieve?
How are you going to measure it?
How ambitious are your growth goals?
Who do you bench mark your performance against?
The plan doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t need to be pages and pages, but you do need a plan that covers the 5 basics of: the business you are in, the business you want to be in, the route to get there, the required resources and a defined understanding of how you will recognise, when you’ve got there.
After all, if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.
You will need to identify what you are going to do differently, that will make the difference to your previous performance – sense check it, resource it, START it, tweak it and deliver it
Otherwise accept that, what you’ve always done you’ll always get (if you’re lucky).
Customers today want to share (social media) they want personalisation not just in the product but in the purchase experience (and beyond). You need to walk in your customers shoes to really understand how they feel when they walk in store, go online, phone you, email you, seek information, make a purchase, return a product.
Customers are an asset that you build up over time, think of it literally as a relationship whether that’s new, current or lapsed – as we all know we get out what we put in. Relationships evolve and require different attention at different times, some demand more time and effort, some can be casual and relaxed, others stressed and uncomfortable; and it’s no different to your customer relationships (including your internal customers). For each there are different levels of engagement.
How often do you “speak” to your customers?
How often do you see/engage with the same customers?
What keeps your customers coming back?
What insights are you gathering from them?
How often do we hear it’s a people business, the people are the real asset of this business, without the people we wouldn’t have a business – great sentiments or hollow platitudes or a people first culture… you decide.
Investment of time and money in your people so they can either be promoted to take on greater responsibility or equipped with the skills and capabilities to safe guard the future of your business is critical to any growth culture.
When did you last attract top talent?
Do your people understand their roles, responsibilities and performance expectations?
Do you have a blame culture, or do you learn from failure?
Are you building the right capabilities for the future?
If new product is the life blood of any business, why do so many companies need a blood transfusion?
Probably because what they bring to market isn’t unique, doesn’t satisfy a recognised need or simply isn’t good enough to attract new customers. Or they have a great product (but aren’t they all, otherwise why launch them) which hasn’t been marketed properly, so why should it sell.
Great products or Great marketing – which one matters most?
How centric is marketing in your business?
Apple is almost as famous for its launch marketing as it is for its product innovation. Pandora’s marketing transformed a common bead into a globally recognised jewellery brand. P&G’s product and marketing teams transformed a failing Oil of Olay into a $2B+ Olay brand.
Growth companies are successful because they are customer-centric and driven by ambitious goals.