A little bit of success can be a bad thing.
Success can provide “false positives” – indicators that you are doing the right things for growth when in fact you are only doing enough for your current growth. So, if you are happy with what you are achieving, then stick with it. However, if you believe that you can and should be growing faster, I have a couple of ideas for the next rungs you need to climb on your growth ladder.
For the sake of this post, let’s assume that you are already great at 3 keys to business success: product, passion and people. You do a good job in providing what you deliver to your customers. You care and invest with energy and commitment in your business. You have people who believe in the dream, even if it is only your immediate family and friends.
You are also probably good at resolving customer issues, solving mini-crises and meeting your obligations. This means long hours, hard work and a firefighter mentality.
To take the next steps in climbing your growth ladder, you are going to need to make some important business shifts.
Rung #1: Shift from what to why
Strong customer loyalty is driven by the why behind your business. What you do, the products and services you provide, puts you in the marketplace. How you deliver it, the quality of service and commitment, puts you in the upper tier of competitors. But why you do it is what creates raving fans who will try whatever you offer, tell others and stand in line to be first to have what you are introducing. The why separates Dell from Apple, Southwest from Delta and you from your competitors.
When you start a company, you focus on the business issues of products, services and pricing. That’s healthy and appropriate. To take your next big leap, you need to focus on your why.
Rung #2: Shift from all to few
When I was starting one of my first businesses, a mentor of mine posed this question: “Do you know what your most important job is in the first year of running your business? Surviving to your second year of business.” For most companies, this survival instinct initially drives great behaviors, but over time, these same behaviors become problematic.
When you are in the desert, you drink the dirty water because you must. Similarly, when you are starting a business, you take almost every customer. Once you have established your business, however, you need to shift to a very rigorous process of evaluating potential clients, especially large ones.
Transactional accounts are not as potentially damaging to your company because of their relatively small size. As you grow, however, the most important business that you do is the business you do not do. Your next rung is to create a strategic map for hunting new business that fits your growth best.
Rung #3: Shift from heroes to systems
Most businesses have legends of incredible sacrifice, commitment and service as part of their cultural lore. But if you’re frequently celebrating your “firefighters,” then you must be a company with lots of fires. One of the most important transitions a company can make is the creation of systems with cycles of improvement to eliminate problems with replicable success. There are 5 such key systems that a company needs to develop in order to move from this hero-dependent design to a system-strong approach to business growth.
I’ll be explaining these systems and more in my upcoming free webinar, “Your Next 3 Ladder Rungs to Double Your Business,” sponsored by Citrix. I hope you will join me for it.
Please click here to register.
Photo Credit: Tie Guy II