The Five Essential Elements of a Growth Strategy

1. Customer Focused – It’s based on market research. You’ve got the right product, packaged in the right solution with well thought out support systems that the right target market really needs and wants and you can prove it.

2. The Company is Oriented to Performance – Your people have the kinds of conversations that lead to process improvements through respectful collaborative idea generation. Incentives are aligned to self-responsibility, authority, accountability  and ability to take risks. You provide support and training for those elements to be accessible to all.

3. You’ve Removed the Rub Points – There is a smooth communication flow from what is promised to the customer all the way from sales through order processing, production, billing, delivery and after sales support. You have a feedback loop to ensure what was expected was delivered. And you have policies that set out boundaries for the negotiables and the non-negotiables. You don’t expect your people to dance to the customer always being right (or wrong). Who to blame isn’t a daily way of life in your company: how to solve the right problem with the right solution is.

4. Your People Understand how the Company Makes Money -Sounds simple but it’s not often done. Everyone should know how their expertise and efforts contribute to the bottom line and where they fit in the financial equation. Even the receptionist and the shipper. Each person has a role to play in the efficient delivery of the promise to the customer.

5. You Focus on and Make Decisions Based on the Right Key Performance Indicators – Forward looking, gross margin driven, utilization rates, cash flow and labour tracking. Your indicators should show you where you have cash leaks in the system, before you have to start bailing. First place to look? Do your estimate gross margins on each product become your actual gross margins. Got a variance? Find out why and fix the systemic problems that cause it. (Hint – most problems are systemic, not personal, not one individual’s fault.)

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