Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What makes you think you are entitled to grow?

As a small business advisor I've been asked by clients, "Help me to double my company's sales in the next 3-to-5 years" or "we want to come up with a new product because our current lines have reached their peak".

When I first started my business in 2003 I would gladly accept this sort of breakthrough challenge and then go to work helping them to enhance their sales, marketing and customer service environment. I believed that if we gathered useful research information, designed excellent processes supported by the right automation tools and then implemented programs and campaigns to retain customers and attract new ones, we would be on track to achieving the goal.

I've discovered that this formula is flawed when it lacks the necessary catalysts to produce the desired results.

Now, when I am asked to help a client to "go where their company has never been before", I first need to define success feasibility before accepting the challenge.

When most of the following 10 conditions exist, it's probably a losing battle right from the start:
  1. The owner's narrow comfort zone prevents them from envisioning a home run
  2. Owners have a tendency to not follow through on their commitments
  3. Owners do not treat their people like assets
  4. Their organization is fragmented or not built for success
  5. They lack the necessary leadership skills to take the company to a breakthrough region
  6. Internal stakeholders lack commitment to be the best they can be
  7. Much of their staff consists of the wrong people in the wrong roles for whatever the reason
  8. Customer experience management is not part of their company's DNA
  9. They lack marketing perspective, commitment, persistence and perseverance
  10. They do not manage through appropriate budgets and KPI metrics
So, when I face this sort of new client business situation, I try to persuade the owner to reduce their monster goal to measurable milestones that will justify investing in a series of business initiatives. After achieving each milestone, feasibility can be reevaluated.

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