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Grow by Design

Posted on October 28 2020

Has your company’s growth occurred by accident … or design?

If it’s the former … don’t worry.

Most companies tend to grow that way, initially.

You may have the benefit of timing with the right product or service to an emerging market, or any one of a host of fortunate circumstances that have allowed you to essentially get in on the ground floor of a market, technology or pricing to build great cashflow and profits.

However, if you’ve found the trajectory of your growth somewhat hectic, nerve-wracking and chaotic, there is an option ...

Growth by design.

Not only does growth by design move you from a position of out of control to being in control ... done correctly, it can also afford you the reality of predictive income based on the metrics of your business.

Growth by design is as simple as identifying and understanding some objective numbers for your particular  business, putting systems in place then systematically working the numbers that drive your company.

That way, you can base your future growth decisions on the numbers that count – and that will count on your bottom-line:

  1. Get clarity on how big do you really want to be. A famous ad executive once asked the same question with a twist, “How big can we get before we get bad?” … but the principle at work is the same. Get some clarity around the growth opportunities that do exist, how you can take advantage of them while still delivering outstanding service, and how everything contributes to your exit strategy.

Why is an exit strategy important?

Namely because you’ll see the market differently – and operate accordingly – depending on your end goal.

Are you building up to be bought out, or will you be doing the buying?

Whatever your goal, organize your efforts towards that objective, and systemize as much as you can, especially the areas that make you money:  marketing, lead generation and customer acquisition.

  1. Always be “in the know.” If you’re in a high growth company or category, you’re probably aware of the size of your market, your competitors and the amount of business everyone has or is going after.

You may not, however, be truly aware of your own internal numbers (everything from breakeven points to profit margins) or the numbers associated with costs of buying new customers, the average dollar sale of each transaction, the return (if any) on your current marketing or advertising or the cost of maintaining your current customer base.

Knowledge in these areas truly is power. Why continue to try and outspend the competition in a certain media if it doesn’t deliver new customers? Why embark on would could be a costly social media campaign when a simple telemarketing campaign to current customers would be more profitable? Why go after a new market niche when you could be #1 or #2 in a current niche with just a few tweaks of your strategy?

Understand the numbers that work for your business, and you’ll be able to generate a better understanding not only of current – but future cashflow and income streams.

  1. Make systems your solution. The more you can refine and systemize your processes, the more value you add to your own operations – and the more efficient and effective your company will be, especially if your systems are scalable.

Many companies in the midst of incredible growth believe they just can’t afford to take the time to invest in documenting processes, or in testing and measuring their ad or marketing campaigns.

The reality is … you can’t afford not to.

The more predictive and “turn-key” you can make your operations (if you are looking to eventually sell) or seamless and streamlined (if you are looking to buy or acquire other companies), the easier it will be to drive and manage your growth – now and in the future.

The old adage that a “rising tide lifts all boats” is especially true when it comes to business growth. It’s only when the tide rolls out – in the immortal words of Warren Buffet – do you discover who's been swimming naked.

Don’t let the success of your “growth by accident” blind you to the payoff value of “growth by design.” Not only will you have a more valuable company (no matter what your end goals are), you’ll have more fun and less stress making a whole lot more money.

In my view, there are few combinations more satisfying than that.