Each company is different, but one thing I’ve learned from more than 25 years of experience working for fast-growth companies—including six where I was CEO—is that the common denominator to success is revenue growth. Following are four key steps that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me and the companies I’ve led stay focused on that fast track.
- Have a Clear Value Proposition
Can customers and prospects immediately grasp your value proposition and what differentiates your business from competitors? Whether a customer is looking at your website or one of your social media channels, your value proposition needs to be clear, concise and consistent. The more credible, demonstrable and provable your value proposition is, the shorter your sales cycles and the higher your close percentages. Continue to get feedback on your value proposition from the accounts you win and the accounts you lose.
- Evolve, Expand or Disrupt Your Business
You always need to be ready to evolve. Industries change and good competitors never stand still. It’s important to constantly evolve your business as customer needs change, the industry shifts and competitors create new offerings. Although your business may be successful in serving a specific target market today, various factors can change everything quickly. This may even mean disrupting your own business model by creating a new adjacent service to your core business, or developing new distribution channels to extend into new geographies. Look for opportunities. They almost always exist and can lead to additional growth.
- Topgrade Your Talent
Are you topgrading your talent—evaluating your talent constantly, rewarding your top performers and helping underperformers improve? Top performers need to know they’re appreciated and that there is a growth plan for them if you want them to stay. And, underperformers, those in the bottom third of your employee base, need to understand and make progress on their areas for improvement or you need to make the decision to replace them. The most caring thing you can do for an employee is to give them specific feedback and a plan for improvement. Once you have established clear performance expectations, be ready to take action if there is no measurable improvement. Individuals can move on to opportunities where they may be equipped to succeed, and that will allow you to hire new talent, helping to improve the overall success of your business.
- Measure and Scale
Are you effectively able to measure how your business is doing? Make sure you have an organized way to capture feedback from employees, customers, partners, influencers and other key audiences. Most fast growing businesses have a data disadvantage; they simply don’t gather enough information to make the best decisions. You have access to market data, competitive data, customer data and employee data. You just have to decide what questions you want answered, make an effort to gather the data and then act on it. For most of us, we spend far too much time working in the business and not enough time working on the business.
Growing a business requires hard work, tenacity, risk, fear and uncertainty. Growing a successful business requires even more hard work, greater risk-taking and even greater uncertainty. Be flexible, open-minded and surround yourself with people who are as smart as you or even smarter.