The Most Dangerous Word in Business. In Blackboard Fridays Episode 4, Jacob talks about Growth Planning. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.
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“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.
Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.
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Hi! I’m Jacob Aldridge, Director of Strategic Advisory here at businessDEPOT talking with you today about the most dangerous word in business which is growth.
Why is growth a dangerous word when in fact 99% of the businesses that I go and talk to say that growth is one of their key objectives? Well, the challenge comes from this, growth can mean many different things. Some of those things are mutually exclusive. Do you mean growth in profit or growth in revenue? Do you mean growth in people or growth in products? Or growth in markets or territories? You get two people together and both agree unanimously that growth is exactly what they need for this business and then go and implement strategies that are competing.
The challenge comes because growth means so many things and those business owners lack this simple framework, they’re really talking about what exactly it is that they want from growth. This is what we call the capacity engine. The analogy that I’m making is that your business is like an engine. It has a certain amount of output which can be created. Now that output is usually measured in terms of dollars. What we also want to know is what’s the actual capacity of that business? What’s the maximum output (dollars) that you could generate given the team, the structure, the clients, the resources that you’ve got today? If we understand what a perfect world would be, we can then measure your current output as a percentage of the overall capacity.
This gives us an awful lot of valuable information for deciding the strategy for your business. For example, one thing we often find is that a team feels very busy but is running much less efficiently. What that means is that the business has created waste. There are inefficiencies, elements in your workflow processes or systems, your procedures, which are creating waste within the business. Your engine is not getting the output that it potentially could.
Now, like an engine, you’ve got to be careful not to try and run it all the way to the limit. You put your pedal to the metal, floor your business for a long going basis, you will create burn out amongst the staff. Similarly, if you idle it for too long, you’ll create other issues within the business. You need to make sure that your business is continually generating an output somewhere in the sweet spot of the current engine.
Now when you talk about growth, you’re talking about growing revenue, growing profit, you’ll often be talking about getting more out of the current engine which is today’s resources and team. If that’s the case, then what you’re really talking about with growth is how do we get more power.
There are a few different ways that you can do that including things like branding, marketing, culture, and even just better systems and processes to address that waste. Of course, at a certain point you will be getting a sustainably high level of output from the engine you’ve got today. In that situation, if you want growth, if you want more revenue, you need a bigger engine. Again, there’s only a small number of ways you can get a bigger engine things like more people and better pricing and packaging will help grow the size of the engine and therefore grow the capacity of your business.
At any point in time, strategically, you ought to be focusing on one of two things—getting more power from the existing engine or building a bigger engine. At the very least, talking to your business partners or team about which of those as a priority helps overcome a lot of the problems that something as generic as growth can create.
Lastly, understand that when you take this engine and put it into a much bigger one, the actual output will, at first, be a little bit lower and that means that your priority shifts then into getting more power from the new engine. This is the growth journey that businesses go on from where they are now to where they’ve set out to achieve in their vision.
Get more power from the existing engine (whatever that target is), grow into a bigger engine, you get to determine the size of that engine and then power that up before growing again. If you can get the steps in that journey clear, the new and your business owners will not only prevent growth from being a dangerous word, but you’ll also actually get to your end destination a whole lot faster.
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