Our blog posts on growth are the most read articles on Spirit West’s website.
So what should we do with that information? Share more of our secret sauce about how we help our clients get growth. Common sense? Only if you train your mind to look for that kind of feedback and follow up on it.
In your business world, you have to keep refreshing your company otherwise you will begin to believe that the economy is at the heart of your woes. Argue you with us if you want, but that kind of thinking keeps you small. Reinventing how you are relevant to your target market is what will help you grow no matter what is going on in the economy.
Here are three mindsets that stifle business growth. It’s time to turn them upside down. Do you catch yourself or people on your team thinking like this? Then your bottom line might be shrinking.
- “We need more customers to grow.”
- “In our industry, we have a downturn so we just have to ride out this storm and wait and see how things go. We don’t want to take any risks.”
- “This is how things are done in our industry. So that’s how we do it too.”
These believe systems are growth preventers, not growth enablers.
THINK AUDIENCE, NOT CUSTOMERS: YOU WANT TO OWN YOUR AUDIENCE
You don’t need more customers, you need an army of fans. You want the kind of customers that always pick your business over any other competitors because what you do and how your people deliver value are exactly what your fans love. They share their experiences with their network. The network grows your fan base. Fans buy more, spend more time and deliver their friends’ to your front door who will also spend more.
STOP LOOKING OUT THERE: YOU WANT TO OFFER WHAT CUSTOMERS VALUE
Let’s cover two birds with one stone here. “In our industry” thinking stifles growth. Its not about the economy. It’s not about how your industry does or does not do things. Stop copying competitors. Don’t look there, look at what your fans really need from the service or product your company delivers.
I need to get on my soap box here for a minute because I think we’ve lost the basic understanding of what a business is. You are in business to solve a problem for certain people. Not all people. If you don’t solve the problem in the way that works for those people, they will look elsewhere. And you won’t have much of a business.
Misunderstanding or forgetting this formula is how businesses decline in value, in return on investment to owners. Your company must be there to serve those certain people first and foremost. Nothing else is relevant until that symbiotic relationship is fully developed and refined. So if you don’t like the bottom line, don’t focus on revenue and costs. Focus on value to your fan base.
Your competitors probably don’t have this relationship sorted out in a way that brings them fans (or growth in profits). So why bother being like them? Instead, ask the people you serve, not the people you compete with, what would make them more interested in working with you.
YOUR GOLD IS IN YOUR CUSTOMERS’ CRITICISMS
And remember, people are far better at describing what they don’t like and don’t want than envisioning what they do want. So you and your team have to become really good at listening to all that criticism and transforming it into what they do want.
Your distributor or customer says “Your lead times are too long. I don’t want to wait that long.”
You say “Thank you for letting us know this is a problem. So how often do you have this problem that the wait time is too long?”
They say: “When I need it now and will lose out on something if I don’t get it.”
You say: “Oh. So if we found a way to get you a 24 hour turnaround for those special times, would that be helpful? Would you pay extra for that as a premium service?”
They say: “It would solve the problem and means I won’t go looking for someone who can deliver it fast.”
You just added a beneficial service to your offering and can charge a premium with a decent gross margin. That extra gross margin goes straight to your bottom line. And I bet your competitors are not offering something similar. Which is why your customers are complaining about the economy. Making these kinds of changes adds value no matter what the economy is doing. No need to wait for the world to change. Make smart changes in your own house.
Then, thinking of our example, you will attract all the fans that want uber fast turnaround times. The kind of fans willing to pay extra for the delight in getting what they want, when they want it.
Think about the places you’ve made your ‘go-to’ destinations or selections. Understand your own buying behaviour and then think about how your buyers choose (or decide against) doing business with your company. Your desired end result should be to ‘own your audience’.
Which companies get this mindset? I’ve got my list. Add your list to the comments section. They can be businesses in your local area or multi-national giants.
- Phantom Screens
- Stein Medical Clinic
- Mezzeta Foods
- Amen Clinics
- Professional Sports teams
- Five star hotels
- Whole Foods