Cyclists, marathon runners and racehorses reach a point in a race, where there is a need for a “spurt” of energy, a need to shift gear and up the speed and intensity. So businesses need to do the same when seeking to exploit opportunities in a new market. The product or service is launched, you are gaining traction with an increasing number of clients and your brand is becoming a recognised player. There is now an urge to move to the next level of performance (increased sales, increased profitability, increased presence and so on).
In making that shift you need to see BOTH short-term and long-term results. Yet in many organisations seeking higher levels of growth their actions achieve at most, one of those goals or in certain cases, none of those goals.
Here are a few essential actions my best clients undertake:
- What is the minimum level of growth required to be a more significant competitor in our market (be realistic but ambitious).
- Determine where we must abandon or limit investment in current products, services and customer relationships (take the emotion out of the logical decisions)
- What positive trends are there in our sector where we can adapt, adjust or quickly create a compelling new value proposition (changes in demographic, customer behaviour, technology, risk, demand and so on).
- Who is our highest-potential customers who can pay for that value (start with existing customers, move onto new buyers)
- How do we best build a trusting relationship with those customers and they with us (where do they hang out, who do they refer to for advice, what do they read, what do they react to favourably and so on)
Cash, credit and investment are the “fuel” to reach the next level of performance but they must be directed intelligently to get to the next level of performance. Without clear answers to those five questions you are simply hazarding a “guess”, and in most situations likely to fritter away scarce resources and disappoint your key constituents: shareholders, employees, customers and business partners.
© James Berkeley 2013