Has your growth stalled or have you missed your revenue and profitability targets the last few years?
There is a solution. But before we get to that, think about if you have ever heard a dialogue like this or even told yourself these same stories. Play along with me here for a minute as I share the following pattern.
How has your growth been the past three years? We really have not grown much, but maintaining or just a bit behind last year.
How are your margins, increasing, decreasing? Well, they have been decreasing, a lot of pressure from the competition. We are in somewhat of a commodity market. It’s tough.
Have you budgeted for growth and set targets accordingly? Yes, but we just have not hit them.
Have you spent time developing and working on new strategies to grow the business and develop new offerings? Not really, we are trying to watch expenses. We have been putting a lot of effort into improving our operating efficiencies.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how many times the same conversation has played out for me the past twenty years. That said, it does not have to be that way. On the flip side, I have had the privilege of working with so many amazing companies that spend time thinking about and working on the business to create the future they desire.
So, what is the solution? Dedicate “Think” time to work on identifying, developing and validating your growth strategies. We call these 3-year strategies for growth, Winning Moves. The most effective Winning Moves have the potential to double the size of your business in a three to five-year period. I know this sounds like a stretch, but trust me, I have it seen it play out many times over but only if enough time, effort, and resources are dedicated to making it happen.
Here are some simple steps to get you going:
- Allocate ample “Think” time in your next planning session. If you are starting from scratch, set up a separate two-day session just to work on strategy. It may be helpful to have a pre-planning session so that you can set expectations and agree on what the work will entail and what the team should prepare for the working session.
- Invite individuals to the meeting that can offer some different or even outside perspectives. These can be customers, suppliers, partners, or other stakeholders such as board members from different industries.
- Brainstorm at least 20 potential winning moves, strategies that can really grow the top line. Put on your “Green Hat” for those of you familiar with Six Thinking Hats to get the ideas on the board. Be bold and aggressive while being realistic. You can use tools like the 36 Chinese Stratagems or other brainstorming tools to get you started. We have a great new brainstorming tool, the Ideas Board, to help with this in Rhythm 4.
- Narrow the list down to the top 5-8 ideas that have the most potential to grow the business based on what you know today and your gut. These should align with your Core Purpose and BHAG long term.
- Start assigning some weight to the list of 5-8. Work through them one by one and give them a ranking from 1-10 on how much growth they will produce in the 3-5 years. Now rank each one on your ability to execute them from 1-10. You still need additional information to verify the rankings but do the best you can based on what you know today and the history you have.
- This is where the rubber meets the road. Choose the top 3, assign an owner to each one and start doing the work to validate the 3 year strategic plans based on the assumptions made for each one. Document what questions you need answers to, what data or information you need to collect, and what you are learning. This work may result in priorities to work on for the quarter. This is one of the most important steps you can take and one that will give you the confidence you are putting your valuable time and resources on the right strategies that can drive growth.
We have great tools in Rhythm 4 to help you do the work and execute your strategies effectively.
There are other ways to work on your growth strategies, although they may not connect to your execution plans as well. We have all heard the statement, strategy is worthless without execution. Track the work on your Winning Moves in a software platform like Rhythm to execute effectively and achieve your long-term goals.
Good luck and please feel free to use our strategic growth initiatives tool, Alan
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images