‘Business Planning’ Category

Revenue Growth Tips – Make sure you’ve got the Right Business Strategy

Monday, February 10th, 2014

It’s great to be fired up about your company’s strategic plan, but before you commit the rest of the year to executing it, make sure it passes the test. If not, head back to the drawing board with your leadership team. Keep in mind, you are betting your company’s future on your plan. If you haven’t gotten the details right or shaped it from the proper perspective, time spent at your offsite will ultimately hurt your company. Take a step back and reflect, and the time to polish it so that you can make the most of the year.

1. Play to win – Sometimes, after a series of setbacks, or an economic downturn, a firm can become overly cautious. This can result in reductions in expenses, staff, and planned future investments. Perhaps unknowingly you begin to play defense. It has been shown, that one of the best times to invest is during a down-turn or slow period, as you prepare to accelerate. To grow through the cycle, you need to go on the offensive – investing in marketing, new products and services, upgrading your team’s skills. Change your mindset and change your future.

2. Seek customer input…Voice of the Customer is a valuable process used by leading firms to rev up growth. It can help define what are considered the most important attributes that are desired in current or future products. Another approach called LeadUsers employs efforts by Customers, who failing to find a solution to their needs from suppliers, build their own. These prototypes or fully-functioning products can provide the genesis of new products, even new industries.

3 …but know what to ignore – The upside of Customer input is you build your relationship and provide products and services more closely aligned with their needs. The downside is if you act on every suggestion your customers make, you end up in bankruptcy. The trick is to achieve a balance between creating greater value for the Customer and more profit for your business. That’s a win-win every one can use.

4. Involve the broader team – While it takes a great strategy from the leadership team to win in the marketplace, as on the battlefield, it takes the troops and middle management to execute it successfully. Too often the people who are expected to win on the battlefield haven’t heard of, been involved in, or bought into “the plan.” It is not surprising that success has been compromised at the onset. Instead of getting blindsided, middle managers should be an integral part of annual and quarterly planning sessions. What results is a plan that people understand and can be part of.

5. Set fewer priorities – There is always a trade-off between defining the needs of a business, setting goals and priorities. The tendency is to get everything on the table and create a huge list to knock off. But having too many goals by itself can lead to distraction. An option is to establish a set of goals that fall into a logical sequence, building upon one another throughout the year – somewhat like building a brick wall. Then to focus on the top three for the quarter, and one per month, making sure a high-priority project is completed before moving on. In this case, less is more.

Great strategy requires some good fundamentals. Keep watching, we will provide more tips along the way.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Revenue Growth Tips – Act Like a Fast-Growth Business

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

It is said, that if you want to fly with the eagles, you need to stop hanging around with the crows. Same goes for business. If you want to grow faster, you need to think and act like a fast-growth business. The following are 5 tips to help you begin the journey of moving faster toward achieving your goals. Whether you run a small or midsize business, manage a department in a larger company, in good times or bad, these tips will work for you.

1. Hyper focus – Align the entire organization around a single, high-impact, measurable priority each quarter. One, not 25, not five. Just one overarching focus for the next 90 days that removes a significant bottleneck in the business. When you knock this one off – move to the next one. This energizes the organization and creates momentum which can create an upward spiral.

2. Move faster – If you want to grow faster, move faster. Think of football teams that run the “up-tempo” offense, it can devastate the defense. The executive teams of the fastest-moving companies huddle daily, as if in constant crisis mode — driving on priorities, metrics, and data gathered from the market. And successful executive teams gather once a week vs. annually. It’s about having a bias for action.

3. Create an edge – Define an underlying advantage of 10X over the competition to dominate your industry. How to figure this out? Look at your industry’s biggest cost and time constraints and challenge the conventional thinking in those areas of the business. Investigate and pursue a Blue-Ocean strategy where you create a new set of rules to play by.

4. Achieve mindshare – Establish your company as the thought leader, the company to go to when innovation in needed. Opportunities include the digital market space with blogs, white papers, YouTube videos, and Twitter messages. Published content is king in driving education-based marketing programs and in establishing you and your company as the authorities in your industry.

5. Manage your cash – Fast growth requires large amounts of cash, so construct a business model that fuels your growth without the need of outside capital. Advanced payments, tighter billing practices, and shorter sales and delivery cycles are a few of many strategies. And to stay focused, look at your cash position daily. You’ll sleep better knowing the business can fund its own growth.

Building a growth strategy need not be overly complicated. Stay tuned, and we will provide more tips along the way.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.