Many businesses grow effectively for a number of years; they achieve this as they have a solid offering, they are delivering some proactive engagement with their market, they work hard, and they close sales.
Inevitably at some point the growth slows down. The practices and processes internally within the business reach their saturation point. They cannot achieve any more sales without doing things differently and all the small changes they make stop yielding results.
At this point the organic growth that the business is capable of has stopped delivering what the business needs. It’s time to think about something new and if you are not inspired by growth through merger or acquisition you need a new idea to generate dynamic growth.
Dynamic growth is about constant change. It’s about stimulating different results by taking new action, and it’s what needs to happen when you reach a profit plateau.
Choosing to be dynamic about your approach to business may be the thing that propels your business to a genuinely transformational level of growth. But where do you start?
Over the last 10 years I have been working on defining the characteristics of highly successful businesses to understand how they harness growth.
When you are thinking about what you need to do to build a dynamic approach to business growth there are three key areas to focus on. These three ‘pillars’ will allow you to make the changes to your organisation necessary to burst through the plateaux.
The First Pillar: Your Customer Journey
The experience that your customer has when they work with your business is everything.
You have a responsibility to shape a journey that not only educates your customer on the value of your offering, but also ensures that they experience your business as credible and professional.
Really robust businesses, that exceed their own growth expectations, have very diverse and well-planned customer journeys; they consider carefully the stages through which their customers travel and the impact that that has on their decision-making journey. As well as a highly tuned customer experience they have internal processes that create productivity and efficiency.
When understanding the challenges of a plateau to business growth the first place to look is in the detail of the customer sales process. A well planned and diverse customer journey that is implemented effectively internally will absolutely maximise the conversion rate and revenue generation.
Dynamic businesses will be thinking today about specifically what experience their customer has when dealing with their business and will be asking questions about how to enhance the quality and content of that journey. Really high quality sales process methodology will allow your business to draw in more customers and make more revenue and ultimately generate more profit.
For change: Put time into interrogating the experience that customers have when working with you. What are the stages that they move through? Is the way that you and your team interact with your clients well defined and diverse? Is their experience one of consistently high quality? Unless the journey your customers undertake is smooth and effective your business will be losing money.
The Second Pillar: Your Customer Communication
In simple terms, one of the most powerful tools your business has is the communication that it uses to reach out to its customers. What we say and how we say it has a huge impact on how much money we make.
The customer communications pillar within your business deals with every communication that your customer is exposed to and looks at how it impacts their decision-making. As the range of channels increases and we have ever more marketing and sales communications to explore, a smart business will look closely at its communications pillar.
Whether it be the business cards you handout at face-to-face meetings, the software you use to generate proposal, or the quality of the telephone calls that your sales team are making to your customers, a really strong communication pillar embraces multiple channels and creates high quality guidelines around how these channels should be used.
It is not simply a case of using email, it is a case of crafting an email that has a powerful impact within the sales communications pillar. Never take your eye off the content, structure, tone and delivery of every sales and marketing activity that comes out of your business. The message here is that if your communications to your customers are not of the highest possible standards, you will not be achieving the highest possible results.
For change: Make sure that you evaluate your customer communications. Go back to basics. Look at all your communications and check them for quality. Setup clear communications guidelines and make sure that your entire team is across them and implementing them.
The Third Pillar: Your People Management
The management area of your business refers to the processes and practises that your organisation uses to ensure that your customer journey is implemented to the highest possible standard.
Management is not simply about the leadership that your team receives. It is about the practises that your business embraces to drive the right outcomes. Within the area of management, you need to look at the structure of your organisation to ensure you have the right number of resources and that each person is working in the right fit in the right role. In truly powerful businesses, every resource in the organisation is lined up behind the customer journey in order that it can be delivered to the highest possible standards.
Once you’re clear that the people in your team are right, you then need to be thinking about how those people communicate with one another internally. Think about how you train and develop those resources to ensure they have the highest possible skill set; understand how performance is managed in an organisation to ensure that everyone is driving towards the right goals and achieving the right targets. All of these areas of your organisation come together to form the management culture that is shaping your business.
If you are focused on ensuring that your people are in an environment where they can perform to their maximum you will achieve better results. So, really dynamic businesses are asking; is my workforce well trained, well recruited and well developed? If the answer to any of those questions is no, it’ll have a negative impact on the amount of money you’re generating.
For change: Review all the members of your team. Are they the right fit? Are they where they can best perform and let their skills truly shine? Is additional training required? Are they all aligned with the vision for the business?
Any business that wants to grow and move past a profit plateau, needs to be dynamic. And being dynamic means taking control of the destiny of your business.
As a business owner or leader having the tools to drive constant growth in your organisation is one of the most powerful skills you can develop.
If you want to beat the fear of a revenue flat line look at the areas above and honestly interrogate how dynamic you are being.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Dunne-Squire is founder of Elation Experts, which is on a mission to empower SME’s by giving them the knowledge and skills to increase revenue, build powerful sales opportunities and create committed, loyal teams that are motivated to drive change. Karen is a sought-after keynote speaker and creator of The Growth Framework, an award-winning methodology, applying ‘Big Business Corporate Insights’ to SMEs in a way that makes practical sense for them.