Advice for a Rapidly Growing Business
According to Fortune, “The Kauffman Foundation and Inc. Magazine conducted a follow-up study of companies five to eight years after they had appeared on the magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies. What they found was startling: about two-thirds of the companies that made the list had shrunk in size, gone out of business, or been disadvantageously sold."
If your business is growing rapidly, you might feel as though you are losing control of steering the ship.
If there is anything I could tell a rapidly growing business, it's this: there will be a lot of chaos. In mid-market firms, there are many initiatives, many directions, and a growing employee base. There are two things you must to do keep your ship running the right course.
The most practical thing you can do is figure out what you want to focus on, turn it into a question, and as a leader ask that question of your people every single day until they know it's coming.
Last year, our focus was to increase our customer base.
Every day, I would come into the office and ask our employees how they were helping us grow our customer base. Be relentless in asking your employees. Ask them every single day if their priorities are helping your one thing.
Of course, you also need to get your day jobs done. You need to manage your core business because it's feeding your cash; it stabilizes your customer base.
This one thing focus allows you to give guidance to your company and your C-Suite Executives. If you see your employees pondering what should I work on, your response should be, "What will drive our one thing focus the fastest?"
The second point rapidly growing businesses must concentrate on is their Core Customer. YOU MUST KNOW YOUR CORE CUSTOMER! I cannot stress enough how important this is to your success.
If you go after too many customers, you will not be focused, and you will lose momentum.
Execute more specifically to identify your customer. Think about how you engage with them, how do you sell to them, how to you market to them?
We call our core customer VIP Fish. We told the entire company to grow our customer base; everyone is going to be in charge of getting VIP fish into the pond (the pond being our contact database.)
Every department is laser focused on getting VIP fish. Sales created a targeted list for our VIP fish. We have a dedicated marketing strategy. Our service team is working on referrals. The product team is building features into the software that will attract VIP fish.
Ask yourself and your employees every day, what are you doing beyond your day job to attract your big fish? Keep your keen eye focused on your core customer and your one thing!
Maintaining your focus in a rapidly growing company can be tough, and extreme focus is needed to keep your business on track.
As Julian Smith once said, "Success works as a cycle - growth, and contraction, balancing and unbalancing - all while you're encountering hurdles that get higher and higher over time."
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