Throughout my business career, I’ve had the great privilege of working with a number of high growth companies, both as an in-house senior executive as well as a hired outside resource. I’ve learned a great deal about what drives high growth and in my observations the key drivers are amazingly consistent, regardless of industry focus or company size.
The key high growth driver I’ll share with you today is the notion of: “less is more.”
Let’s face it, there’s a lot to do in running a company. Sales, marketing, accounting, product development, inventory management, staffing to only name a few, and those were just the basics.
In trying to propel their companies forward, owners and leaders can sometimes fall into the trap of trying to do too many things at once. What starts this pattern is typically a strategic planning session or a company’s annual business planning cycle. Company leadership spends a day thinking about the many different opportunities to grow their business and come out of the session with, while all meaningful opportunities, a long laundry list of “to do’s.”
It’s akin to your personal New Year’s resolutions: get fit, learn Spanish, spend more time with family, get back into tennis, volunteer at my child’s school, may be a few. These are of course all worthy and, if implemented, would greatly improve your quality of life and overall personal happiness. But what happens more often than not? While January and February get off to a rousing start, “life” gets in the way and the list seems to carry over from year to year.
The common result: the items on your business list, just like your personal one, get sporadic traction, many fall by the wayside and when you look back on the year that passed, you didn’t achieve those aggressive high growth goals you know your business is capable of.
What can you do?
In those strategic planning or year-ahead sessions, really try to force yourself to limit what the single most important drivers could be that would have the most significant impact on your business, if implemented fully and well. A few simple illustrative examples:
- For a standalone restaurant or chain whose customer reviews are average or even good, really understand what changes it would take to make them great or “you’ve got to check it out, it’s off-the-charts.”
- For product or service provider, what would the impact on the business be if they added a complementary line of product or service that could increase their average sale per customer, i.e. an accounting firm adding business consulting services or a product company adding self-warranty.
- For a non-profit, introducing a thoughtful referral campaign that encourages supporters to meaningfully introduce the cause to like-minded friends and associates.
While there are a great many actions that could positively and dramatically propel a business forward, isolating the one or two that could have the most significant impact on the business…and executing on these really well and rallying the entire organization to their successful deployment can singlehandedly have more of an impact than trying to do “20” erratically and inconsistently. Meaning, if implementing that one thing – or making that one change – could have the potential to increase your business well into the double digits in a short period of time, relentlessly focus on that vs. the “list.”
In the end, you’re not saying “no” to those other important to do’s you identified in your planning efforts, you’re simply saying: “not now.”