A guy walks into his Dr.’s office and says, “Doctor I haven’t been feeling like myself lately”.
The doctor says, “How long is lately?” The guy replies, “I guess for the past year or so.”
Does this sound familiar to you or someone you know? This is a very common scenario for many people who take their health for granted and ignore the signs until the situation escalates.
Ironically, like a person ignoring the signs of illness, companies exhibit the same behavior when evaluating and responding to deterioration in growth. The signs become noticeable when growth begins to stall and becomes more pronounced when growth flattens out. And yet the company waits till growth is in a decline before it acts. In most cases, the company goes into panic mode and initiates a tactical action in hope it will fix the problem immediately.
If you think about a person’s health and the health of a company, they share many similarities:
In both cases, when faced with symptoms that signal a potential serious condition it really comes down to a simple decision: “Will you choose to take a proactive or a reactive path?”
The quick-to-execute tactical course of action without a sound strategy at the foundation, might work at least temporarily, but in most cases will fail resulting in wasted time, effort and money.
I recommend taking the proactive route which is similar to the Gold Standard “Doctor/Patient Treatment Model”. Before any decisions are made, first seek to understand what is behind the presenting symptoms through a complete diagnostic review. This will generate the vital information and insight critical to making an accurate diagnosis. Once the diagnosis has been identified, you will now be able to create an effective treatment plan for your specific Growth Condition.
So If you still choose to ignore the signs and wait until your Growth Condition becomes critical, before you go immediately to executing a reactive quick-fix solution, take a pause. And, consider “If your company was a family member, what is the best course of care that you would want your doctor to prescribe to not only relieve the symptoms, but fix the problem?
My suggestion…Think Strategy First
In part III. of my blog series specific to the importance for organizations to develop, improve, and practice daily business fundamentals in order to achieve organizational success and growth, the focus will be to offer suggested steps that fall within the area of Market Analysis.
According to Bill Bradley, U.S. Senator, Basketball Hall of Famer, and Author
“Becoming number one is easier than remaining number one.”
For many companies in the B2B space that developed and commercialized a unique software product or some other type of innovative technology, success came fast by being first to market. However, over the years as more and more competitors began to enter the market offering alternatives propositions to a once very novel and special technological solution, thus causing companies in this new situation to rethink the importance of research and intelligence.
Research Should Be Part of Every Planning Initiative
Research can come in various forms and, for many, may produce a daunting impression. However, when it comes to growing a business, every company should thoroughly understand the market(s) it competes in, maintain an ongoing view of the competitive landscape and know who its customers are and what they want.
Collectively, ongoing research that yields sound and insightful customer, market and competitive insights will be paramount to putting together an effective growth plan that will mitigate risk while ensuring sustainable organizational growth and long-term success.
Understand Your Customers’ Needs and Wants
Today’s customers are mobile, well informed, have access to extensive data and information, demand choices and are clearly in the driver’s seat.
Companies spend lots of money, time and effort implementing solutions they perceive will satisfy their customers’ primary needs. Many times, the focus is placed on addressing transactional drivers like quicker speed-to-serve and convenience, both of which are very important, but in many cases are only scratching the service as to what customers truly desire from the products and services they purchase.
To better influence the purchase decision, a company should, in addition to understanding a customer’s “needs”, place more emphasis on identifying and understanding a customer’s “wants” as well.
Study your Competition – Know Their Moves and Anticipate.
In preparation for every game, Peyton Manning studied his competition obsessing over every detail revealed by spending countless hours screening game film over-and-over. The truly great sports stars know every move their opponent will throw at them and will be able to accurately read changing game situations and effectively make adjustments in order to execute successfully.
Your company can do the same by performing ongoing competitive analysis. Note, conducting this just one time a year will not produce the type of outcome most companies desire. The nature of the business and the dynamics of the competitive set certainly will have an impact on the level of commitment a company can afford and elects to implement, but experts in this discipline are avid believers that competitive analysis and market mapping initiatives must be of the nature where your company will secure a constant view of the market and competitive activities.
Companies that conduct market, product, customer and company-alignment research will be armed with the insights necessary to develop and execute actionable strategies and tactics that are critical to accelerating company growth and increase its value.
Look for my next post in this four-part series that include steps that can be taken to increase company growth and success that fall within Customer Strategy.
Vince Lombardi is arguably one of the greatest NFL football coaches in history and what he truly believed created a championship-team was mastering the fundamentals:
“Some people try to find things in this game that don't exist but football is only two things - blocking and tackling.”
Michael Jordan, also arguably the greatest NBA basketball player of all time, is a believer that no matter what you do in life, success is only possible when fundamental excellence serves as the foundation to every action.
“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”
Today’s B2B landscape has changed dramatically in recent years making it more complex and incredibly competitive resulting, in business owners having to rethink how they grow their organizations in a once “price-driven” and “delivery of excellent customer-service” marketplace.
71 % of B2B customers are indifferent or disengaged with their current solutions provider. No one industry is immune from this circumstance. -Gallup Poll B2B Organic Growth 2016
Now more than ever, the practice and mastering of daily business fundamentals and principles, in lieu of searching for quick-fix solutions, will be critical. Over the course of a four-part blog series, I wanted to share some practical business fundamental strategies and steps that every business can begin to put into practice for achieving long-term growth and success. These will include:
At the end of the day, every company wants to succeed and hopes to create a “championship-level” organization, culture, and environment capable of generating year-over-year growth. This is a feat many organizations are challenged with because they don’t know where to begin. Borrowing legendary NBA Coach Phil Jackson’s words - “The ideal way to win a championship is step-by-step”.
Look for my next post in this four-part blog series that will include steps that can be taken to increase company growth and success that fall within Corporate Strategy.
If you interested in learning more please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org