You can’t cut your way to business growth. Profitability? Yes, at least for a while, but growth is a completely different animal.
Growth requires increasing the top line and there are only four basic ways to accomplish that:
- Sell more of the products or services you currently offer
- Sell additional products or services in addition to those you currently offer
- Buy additional revenue by purchasing your competitor
- Generate additional revenue (a premium) for your products and services
You might be able to raise prices. That isn’t a guarantee, however. Your customers have learned that someone is always willing to offer your product or service for less.
Expanding your offerings or buying competitors might be an option, but those require time and money that you may not have. Let’s also assume that you are selling as hard and fast as you can.
Your best option is to break out of the pack so that price is no longer an issue and people who want to buy, prefer you. In order to do that, you will need to make some changes in how you think and perform to grow. Here are four places to start now:
1. Know more about your customer than they know about themselves.
Did you know you wanted an iPod, iPhone, or iPad before you saw one? Did you know that you needed bottled water, gourmet coffee, or TV’s with screens measured in feet not inches? Someone did. And they knew more about their customers than the customers knew about themselves.
Don’t have a new product or service? It doesn’t matter. Make it your business to know more about how what you are selling solves a problem for your customer or your customer’s customers. Be relentlessly focused on understanding AND anticipating needs to drive positive change in your business.
2. Add so much value that you are impossible to ignore.
A reader asked me a very interesting question a few weeks back: “What does it mean to add value?” He went on to say that I – and virtually every other business writer – tossed the phrases “add value” and “value added” around like everyone knew exactly what that means. But, according to him, none of us ever explained the term.
Obviously, I missed an opportunity to add value to this person. So here goes: You add value when your product or service contributes more to the customer’s success or well being than he/she expected to receive OR when the customer would have reasonably expected to pay more than charged for the product or service provided.
An amazing thing happens when you add so much value that you are impossible to ignore—your customers start selling for you. You don’t have to ask for referrals because they send them to you unsolicited. They voluntarily write reviews and spread a positive message. If these things aren’t happening in your business, there is work to be done.
3. Always be innovating and improving.
Past success proves you were right once. Your fifteen minutes of fame has now been reduced to a single 24-hour news cycle. Get used to it. You are either growing or dying, and your customers are asking: “Why you? Why now? What makes you relevant?”
Change and innovation are a strategic advantage in capturing and holding mindshare in the marketplace. Need proof? Do you [or someone you know] purchase the latest smartphone even though your existing one works just fine? Every positive change you make in your business is an opportunity to create excitement, energy, and a way to connect with existing and potential customers.
4. Anchor it all in the culture.
Your investment in a new branding program to drive growth is useless unless your culture is ready and able to deliver on the promises you make.
Great cultures consistently execute and deliver amazing customer experiences. Consistent execution and customer experiences create legendary brands. And, legendary brands give you credibility and longevity. You can’t ask for more than that if you want continued growth.
Consistent growth is the holy grail of long-term business success. You can sell more, create new offerings, or even purchase your competitors. Or, you can make the changes that will allow you to break out of the pack.
Randy Pennington is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading authority on helping organizations achieve positive results in a world of accelerating change. To bring Randy to your next meeting, visit www.penningtongroup.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Michelle Joyce at 704-965-2339.