The solution to complexity is simplicity. As business leaders, association directors, organizational heads and/or small business owners, we’re all prone to the disease of taking something simple and making it complex. This is absolutely true in regards to business or organizational growth. Every year (or more truthfully, every quarter), you are expected to “grow your business/organization.” But how? That is the question.
Moreover, when most companies set their growth goals, they almost always set them at an incremental level (i.e. in line with industry norms). But why? Wouldn’t you rather experience double digit growth? It is possible. It simply requires the right strategy executed in the right way. The key is knowing the Five Ways–and then determining what your organization should (or shouldn’t) do under each of them. It doesn’t get any more difficult than that. So, what are the Five Ways? You already know them.
1. Increase Your Capacity.
No organization can consistently perform at a level above their current capacity. If Joe’s bakery can only produce 300 cakes per day, there’s no way they can grow by 20% if they can’t produce 360 cakes per day. From my perspective, this is the number one hinderance to growth in most of the organizations I’ve observed. The capacity issue might be a leadership capacity that needs to increase. It might be the capacity of some employees (some of whom might need to be replaced). It might be a systems issue. Or a technological capacity issue. It might be a distributions issue. Or a training issue. But at the end of the day, if an organization wants to grow (in a healthy way), it needs to create the capacity before growth occurs. If it doesn’t, short term growth will lead to a plateau (and possibly, a decline). No organization can fool this Way for long. So, if you want to experience double digit growth, what can you begin to do to increase your capacity so you can handle a double digit increase?
2. Attract More Customers.
I’m guessing you’re probably underwhelmed by this profound observation, but I can’t tell you how many companies and organizations I’ve run into that either haven’t created attraction strategies, or haven’t evaluated their attraction strategies in awhile–and are thus, not only throwing money away, but losing current and future revenues they could be generating if they were evaluating and changing their attraction strategies in real-time. Another common problem I’ve observed is that too many organizations depend on one or two strategies to attract new customers. When, in reality, growing organizations are focused on multiple strategies every day, every week. This may seem like the most obvious way to grow an organization, but I can guarantee you that there are plenty of different tactics you could be using right now that could be helping you to attract more customers. Note: Strategies to increase your remarkability would fit under here (as well as Way #4). So, what can you begin to do to attract more customers?
3. Upgrade Your Current Customers.
If your customers use your business once every six weeks and you can increase that to once every four weeks, you’ve generated approximately a 50% increase in sales (one fourth divided by one sixth). If your customer’s normal purchase is $50 per sale and you can upgrade that to $70 per purchase, you’ve increase sales by 40%. If most of your church or synagogue members come once or twice a month and you upgrade most of them by one week per month, you’ve grown your church/synagogue’s attendance rather significantly. It doesn’t matter what kind of business or organization you’re a part of, if you can upgrade your current customers from doing what they’re currently doing, you’ll grow your organization. So what can you do to increase your current customer’s use or regularity or purchase price or sale total (i.e. how can you upgrade them)?
4. Improve Morale and Buzz.
When momentum is with you, you can do no wrong. When it’s not, you’re in trouble. This is easiest to see in the web world. When buzz spreads (think Google, You Tube, Willow, etc.) everyone wants to be a part of it. But when buzz doesn’t spread (think GM, Ford, Kodak, etc.), things get worse–and all of your initiatives don’t seem to work. In essence, this Fourth Way is all about innovation and creativity, imagination and customer service. It’s about exceeding customer expectations. But it’s also about improving internal morale. If employees aren’t motivated and inspired, they won’t create a remarkable company or produce remarkable products or deliver remarkable service. So, what can you do to improve morale? And then, what can you do to create buzz? Like Way #1, this Way is way undervalued (pun intended). I can’t overstate how important this Way is to creating double digit growth.
5. Add More Options (or Streams of Revenue).
The final Way that you can use to grow a business or organization is to increase the number of options your customers/members (or potential customers/members) can use. You could do this by adding a new product line. Or expanding into a new business. Or adding an new/additional service. Or changing your times or days of operation. Or adding a new purchasing option, etc. The good news is that there are plenty of options for adding new options. The bad news is that you need to make sure that Way #5 goes hand in hand with Way #1–or else you’ll sabotage your growth efforts. So, what possible options can you think of adding to what you’re currently doing that might help you achieve double digit growth?
That’s it. I told you this was simple. Almost every strategy you can think of to grow your business or organization fits under one of those Five Ways (this is the knowledge part). Wisdom, on the other hand, is about knowing which tactics you should (or shouldn’t) use under each of the Five Ways.
So, here’s my suggestion. Take out a sheet of paper and label one through five, spaced equidistantly, down the page. Then write the name of each Way that corresponds to the number above. Then begin brainstorming a variety of strategies and tactics you could use under each of these five Ways (Note: this is also a great exercise to do with your team). When you’re done, narrow down your choices to a handful of tactics which you believe have the greatest probability of helping you achieve the kind of double digit growth you desire for your company or organization. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!