Guidepost to Growth
When you think about growing beyond where you are now, does it inspire you or discourage you?
Growth can be economic, personal, or physical, it doesn’t matter. Although we will be looking at growth from a business perspective, success in one area will benefit all three.
In business it is the constant drumbeat – Grow – Grow- Grow. We feel the pressure, but we are not always certain of the process. One thing is certain about growth, it is not a random act, it must be purposeful.
“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a dream” – C.S. Lewis
Have you used words like goals or dreams recently? Maybe you should. If for no other reason but to unleash a bit of creativity and inspiration. Perhaps you need a different approach. I have heard it said “get mad or get excited, but get started”. So let’s take a look at our three guidepost to growth.
It must be Targeted.
It is easy to say we want to grow by “x” percent, but much more difficult to focus on a targeted market or process. Targeted marketing is the biggest area I see most companies struggle with and most of the time they don’t even realize it. In exercising terms it’s easier to grasp I want to target cardio, upper body strength, or flexibility because we understand what to do. In the military they choose a targeting package before the plane leaves for enemy territory. In an effort to grow many companies go from one extreme to the other. They either try something different every month and constantly change targets or they do nothing new or purposeful and just hope they will grow. Take the time to profile the traits that apply to your best customers. Wouldn’t you want more just like them? When I take clients through this process it seems to always involve an “aha” moment. Now that we know who they are, let’s set out to target more just like them with a targeted and measurable plan.
It must be Measurable.
There is profound truth and wisdom in the statement – “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
The key is to keep it simple and actionable. As you put together your targeting plan make sure you know what measurements you will use to determine your progress. A golfer who is seriously trying to improve will track things like fairways hit, greens in regulation, and how many putts in a round. Based on these numbers they know what area of their game they need to work on most. When it comes to your health you can measure pulse, blood pressure, height and weight and have a good idea of a person’s general well-being. Then, if there is a problem, you can adjust and make lifestyle changes or test more deeply. Okay, you get the idea, these marketing measurements are not to determine immediate failure or success but where to make adjustments. With each medium there are key measurements and based on your targeted plan you will determine these. The biggest benefit of measuring and adjusting is it helps to keep you focused and consistent. One last important reason to measure is to reward yourself. Keep it simple but do it! Remember the principle, “whatever you focus on grows” and this step keeps you focused.
It must be Impactful.
This may seem curious to you, but think about it in personal growth terms. When someone achieves great weight loss or overcomes self-destructive behaviors it inspires us and has a positive impact on us. It inspires us. We instinctively know it took effort, focus, consistency and sacrifice. We also know for us to reach new goals and dreams we and our organization are going to have to have those same traits. This gets down to your growth goal and purpose for the company. It is usually bigger than making money, although that has to happen. Many times this is accomplished by creating or recommitting to a Mission Statement or supporting a cause through your business success. Targeting and measuring deals with the how but the impact of your growth deals with the why. When your ship rises so do those who work with you and those your serve. Your growth will impact your community as well. That is the big picture view. Let’s zoom back in and look at how the message can be more impactful. Businesses often forget their message has to answer the prospects question of “what’s in it for me”. So many times I see a company send out information and advertise some really cool piece of machinery they now have. They point out how fast it is, how big it is, how high tech it is and yet never answer the question of how that
benefits their prospect. Whether you like it or not you are always selling and a good salesman not only points out features but benefits. You are telling your story and the more relevant and actionable it
is to your targeted group the bigger impact it will have on them and you.
These are practical guidelines that can help you create a foundation for growth. However, I will remind you and myself, real growth always stretches us beyond where we are, it always involves change and usually there is a bit of pain. But as the song says…”it hurts so good.”