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LIFT Business Growth Report 2014: Part 2
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LIFT Business Growth Report 2014: Part 2

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Many small and medium sized enterprises [SME] owners already know what needs to be done to grow their business but lack the time and/or resources to bring about the necessary changes. …

Many small and medium sized enterprises [SME] owners already know what needs to be done to grow their business but lack the time and/or resources to bring about the necessary changes.

Others may simply be reluctant or restrained by tradition to make a shift.

Change is difficult.

This series attempts to help answer the question, "How will owners [like me] make the necessary changes to aggressively grow their business in 2014 — and beyond?”

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  • 1. LIFT | LLC .Michael Linder . 616.460.3395 . michael.linder@lift156.com 156 REPORT Best practices based on work done with over 200 SME’s and 33 Fortune 500 companies 2014 - 2019 SME Business Growth Executive Summary and Organization Assessment Part 2 156Many small and medium sized enterprises [SME] owners already know what needs to be done to grow their business but lack the time and/or resources to bring about the necessary changes. Others may simply be reluctant or restrained by tradition to make a shift. Change is difficult. This series attempts to help answer the question, "How will owners [like me] make the necessary changes to aggressively grow their business in 2014 — and beyond?”
  • 2. Part 2 Introduction: Small and Medium Sized Enterprise [SME] 2014 Report In Part 1 of my business growth summary, I discussed how complex growing revenue and managing the risk of growth has become. While the economy is back to [slow] growth and the Dow has crossed 16,500, for many SME’s the intricacies of sustainable business growth in these turbulent times can be exhausting. SME’s continue to struggle with one or more of the following challenges: §  A weak sales system or inability to hold sales channels accountable for poor results §  The escalating costs and stress of trial and error §  The anxiety accompanied with the majority of the organization’s revenue resting with 1-2 major customers and/or controlled by a single staff member That said, there is evidence that many SME’s are bullish on 2014. In a recent 2014 study of 400 SME’s commissioned by Palo Alto Software, 91% of SME’s expect an increase in revenue in 2014 and 30% said they expect to grow by 50% or more. The Key to Business Growth? In a word, “planning.” The Palo Alto study revealed that 79% of SME's with a strategic plan say they are better off financially than a year ago. Only 33% of SME’s without a strategic plan say they are better off. 75% of SME's that have a plan expect to grow 10% or more in 2014, compared to 17% that don’t have a plan. Thus, if your company does not possess a well documented strategic and operational plan, you are at a significant competitive disadvantage! With strategic planning in mind, we will begin Part 2 of my report with a foundational principle shared in the Part 1 report…   Is Your Company Perfectly Designed to Get the Results it is Getting? 2014 SME Business Growth Executive Summary 156 REPORT Your organization is currently executing at a certain level of performance. That level of execution is delivering a certain result. Execution = Results. 60% of SME’s are executing at a moderate to “at risk” level of performance and thus, are perfectly designed to generate a moderate to “at risk” result for its stakeholders. In order to achieve a more desirable and strategically planned result, read on! REPORT Part 2 LIFT | LLC .Michael Linder . 616.460.3395 . michael.linder@lift156.com E R Desired Results Current Results = Desired Execution Current Execution
  • 3. Where are Your Revenue and Growth Opportunity Leaks? Whether you have planned for it or not, your company is perfectly designed to get the results it is getting. Can your results be improved? Given most revenue leaks are a result of poor or no planning, do you have a well documented plan to drive the improvements? If not, this is your first revenue leak. In order to identify and stop the many other revenue leaks your business may be experiencing, develop a plan that considers the following: Can you improve your company’s problem solving solution by: §  Radically changing how your solution is delivered or who it is delivered through §  Radically changing its fit, form or function [in part or in whole] §  Radically improving the quality beyond market norms [in part or in whole] §  Radically reducing the quality/cost beyond market norms [in part or in whole] §  Radically applying the internet or online tools to enhance your solution §  Radically applying the concept of strategic partnerships to enhance your solution §  Radically applying an idea from an unrelated industry Point being, adapting to solve a different problem or adapting to solve a problem in a new or different way — while adding value — will abate revenue leaks. Are your leaders “multiplication thinkers”? Asking, “What do we need to do to grow our sales 5X [or some multiple of the industry]?”, will direct your leadership team to a very different strategy or set of tactics than if your team asks, “How can we grow sales 4-5%?” Think in terms of multiples vs. percentages [or incremental gains] in order to maximize your growth potential and mitigate opportunity leaks. Similarly, ask your customers bigger questions — “If together we were to agree to [manufacture] 100% of your work, what might that agreement look like?” 2014 SME Business Growth Executive Summary 156 REPORT What market problem does your company exist to solve? Are you focused on the right problem for the right market? Is this problem a growing or diminishing concern in the markets you serve? REPORT Part 2 LIFT | LLC .Michael Linder . 616.460.3395 . michael.linder@lift156.com
  • 4. How Much Revenue is Your Sales and Marketing System Leaking? Most SME's possess deep industry expertise and knowledge, but many lack the capabilities or resources to truly drive demand for their products or services beyond situational opportunities or a rising market — thus, the potential for leaking revenue and market share is high. §  A well defined sales funnel that outlines the 4-6 key stages of your customers’ buying process — that is aligned with the 4-6 key stages of your selling process §  Sales and marketing collateral that communicates your understanding of your customers’ buying process, your customers’ challenges and your customers’ interests — not just the features, benefits and wonderful images of your product[s] §  Aligning the goals, strategies, commitment and resources of Sales and Marketing §  A “sales ready” lead generation strategy — qualifying buyer budgets, authority, needs and timelines isn't enough. "Sales ready" means the buyer’s problem or challenge[s], the cost of the unresolved challenge[s] and the buyer’s intentions have been identified §  Key performance indicators [KPI’s] that are actually indicators of a future result — i.e., sales calls per/day, discovery meetings per/week, presentations per/month Who “Owns” Your Customer Relationships? Your selling organization [yikes!]? You? Too often in SME’s, the generation that built the business owns the key customer relationships. Frankly, “the company” should own the customer relationships. There must be a “corporate” marketing effort that communicates the company’s value proposition and builds customer loyalty to the company. The customer’s allegiance must be with the company in order for the company to be sustainable, hold its value through an ownership change and prevent revenue leakage. 2014 SME Business Growth Executive Summary 156 REPORT A “leak proof” sales and marketing system would include: §  Well defined target customer profiles — i.e., good, better, best potential §  An understanding of time and effort — i.e., how many sales people, managing how many current customers, selling how many new customers in order to achieve the desired results REPORT Part 2 LIFT | LLC .Michael Linder . 616.460.3395 . michael.linder@lift156.com
  • 5. 2014 - 2019 SME Business Growth Assessment How Leak-Proof Is Your Business Growth Plan? Read each statement and rate your response: “5” = Execute at the highest level and have a plan to continue to do so. “3” = Need work, but have a plan and path to excellence. “1” = Need help. Your 1, 3 or 5 Rating Here My organization can “feel” the momentum of our growth strategy? Each key stakeholder in Sales and Marketing is fully aligned, committed and working together — on a high level — to execute the company’s well documented strategic growth plan. My company possesses a “leak proof” sales and marketing system. I am consistently impressed by the quality of thought and the depth of the dialog — at our leadership level — relative to our sales and marketing strategies. We are exceeding our revenue growth goals and growing faster than our competition and/or industry. My company excels at asking ourselves “big / multiplication thinking” questions that lead to innovation and breakout performance. My company is effectively solving the right problems for the right target market. Our company — not the owner, Sales or a key staff member — “owns” our customer relationships. Total Score 33 or more = Executing at a high level. 17 to 32 = Need work, but may have a plan and path to excellence. 16 or under = May need help. _______ Total Score 156 REPORT Part 2 LIFT | LLC .Michael Linder . 616.460.3395 . michael.linder@lift156.com

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