So you want to grow? Building a successful business and growing the revenue is in the bloodline of every entrepreneur involved in startups, middle market companies and even billion dollar giants.
However, growth not tied to a scalable strategy or business plan has left many CEOs concerned about the direction of their business. Wall Street has driven public opinion that every good company must show a consistently smooth growth trend, triggering many CEOs to push for immediate quarterly growth not necessarily tied to their company’s current capabilities or risk exposure.
Many of you that read LendPro’s blog are retailers with a steady flow of consumers purchasing furniture, appliances, jewelry, etc. You’ve probably experienced common setbacks like the wrong hire or the mismanagement of inventory. Maybe you’ve never looked in the mirror to see how these common issues reflect back to the company’s business plan for growth.
Here are a few ways to accelerate growth taken from our culture here at LendPro:
1. Reverse engineer for desired growth
What’s the number? Yes, we are talking about revenue, so there is a number. The sky is the limit is not a business plan and will leave you uncertain how to measure at a given point in time.
Michael Jordan recently said during a halftime address to UNC fans, “the ceiling is the roof.” Of course, being a Jordan fan trying to justify the one and only M.J., what he didn’t actually mean actually would help better define your business.
What is your roof or end number? Don’t worry about a number that possibly or hopefully could double or triple growth every year until the end of ages. What’s the target revenue number for year 3, 5, 10? A growth plan is strategically tied to a feasibility plan that includes staffing and workflow, sales and marketing, infrastructure capabilities and a scalable priority queue. Then, once that number is known, reverse engineer how you are going to get there. Do you need more staff, more floor space, new capabilities?
At LendPro we like to say, “build with attitude” – build your capabilities aggressively assuming you will be successful, and chances are more likely you will be.
2. Identify your primary lanes of success
Not every growth lane is a good lane and not every good lane is a growth lane. Maybe you’ve seen the success moving a particular sofa in your showroom. If you load up your warehouse with that sofa, would it overly concentrate your resources? How would the marketing to move that inventory potentially rebrand your image?
We see this in business every day across multiple verticals. Driving diagonally through a mall parking lot might get you to the front door quicker, but might also produce a fender bender or a perturbed mall cop. Short term lanes must continually be evaluated through the lens of sustainable growth. Work them hard, then throw them out and identify newer better ones.
3. Develop your people
This is cliché, but for a good reason. Every business is made up of real people with behaviors and activities that both hurt and help the growth of the company daily. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know the full weight of that until the hire is made, training complete and the employee is integrated in the daily work flow.
The good news is that this is not left to chance. Proven hiring strategies have lessened the damage and helped businesses make smarter selections of individuals ready to grow. If you notice that a potential interviewee has no intentions of growing who they are as a person, save yourself the line item on the payroll.
Once they are onboard, give your employees stretch goals. A wise man once said that true happiness is having a meaningful but challenging goal plus the tools and skills to do it well. Do you remember your favorite professor as the easy one or the one who truly challenged you? Be demanding of all your employees, give them stretch goals, but then also ensure they have the tools, knowledge, and quality colleagues to meet those challenges.
Embracing behavioral analysis across the footprint of the company helps during the hiring process as well as redirecting talent to their best potential role and career. One effective tool out there is the DISC profile (It’s worth a Google). Training about your product can be developed quickly, but the long-term game involves employees understanding how their individual growth builds better teamwork and communication, sales skills, leadership abilities, and overall contribution.
So where do you want your company to be? Your business is never too big to fail or too small to make it big! Be tactical in the board room and ready to accelerate in the marketplace.