Strategies For Growth In These Exceptional Times
Growth of the organisation, however you might want to measure this, is always the number one challenge facing any organisation, even in times of economic growth, strong market opportunity, ample available skilled labour and readily-accessible and cheap financial support available.
In difficult times, uncertain times and times when the “normal” is about to be replaced by a “new normal” which nobody can actually define, businesses seeking growth need to follow a simple business mantra that will steady the organisation and give some direction.
- Change the way in which you think about change: if history teaches organisations anything it is that change is ever-present, it is challenging BUT success is built around being nimble in the way the organisation works, recognising that structures, products/services and staff are transient and subject to continual modification and transformation.
- The speed at which you, your organisation and your staff deal with a problem or an issue is critically important. Reaction times are an essential measure of the need for a nimble approach outlined above: the customer will not patiently wait for you to make a move, nor will the market, so always make sure that you create urgency in getting on top of issues and making decisive decisions about what needs to be done, by whom and by when.
- Use resistance as a tool: when delivering change, staff and colleagues who push back against your ideas are giving you precious feedback on why your approach may not work. The temptation is to ignore them because they have a vested interest in the status quo but this perceived negativity unearths opinions and values that will help you iron out some of the barriers that you may not have seen for yourself.
- Find out what is important to your customer: this involves really getting to know what they are looking for and what is their next problem that you can solve. It is simply just not good enough to accept that they pay your Invoices on time and that they (appear) happy with your products or services. Ask yourself, on a very regular basis, what they want and need from you.
- Explain why you cannot do something when your customer asks for it. While this may be a negative in the ongoing relationship with your customer, look for something that you are able to provide, which then continues the discussion and gives an opportunity to work collaboratively with the customer, rather than just shutting the door on the problem.
- Always educate the customer about the Value you create for them. If they cannot see or understand the Value you are creating for them then you are just not creating Value and you are likely to lose the business. The Value concept is not just the domain of management to decide and engineer – always get all the team to consider how Value works and how they can engineer this into the relationship.
- Look for failure points or irritations that can be eliminated, especially if these are long-standing and are mentioned by customers. Only a very poor and weak organisation would allow this situation to fester and to give the competition the opportunity to prise away the business from you!
- Always know and understand what your competitors are doing: never feel comfortable that you have satisfied and loyal customers because the innovations and changes your rivals are making now, that you are unaware of, will shortly mean that you will be losing your customer base.
All of this is optional of course – you and your organisation could just carry on doing the same as you are doing now and watch as your markets fall away from you.
Act now and act fast!
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