Has Your Growth Hit a Brick Wall?

Your company may be a growth machine. If so, don’t waste your time reading this.

According to a Financial Times story on Sept 4th, 2104, during the past 10 years, “the U.S. had the slowest growth in living standards of the major rich countries before the (economic) crisis and remains one of the weakest performers (countries) over the entire period”.

There is little doubt in most people’s minds that the U.S. economy is hardly robust. The macroeconomic reasons why are open to different views, none of which this article are about. You could blame your sales performance squarely on the economy.

However, at a microeconomic level, you can impact your company’s growth more than the current economy might suggest. Likely too, your company has gotten very good at fixing things, improving processes and streamlining operations. Your cost structure is probably fairly lean and now more productive. Yet, when it comes to turning your higher performing operation into a sales growth machine, you might be one of those companies frustrated with the lack of sales growth no matter what improvement was instituted. So the economy is now a good excuse to explain it.

Yet, if you are tired of banging your head against a brick wall, or hoping the economy will improve, maybe it’s time to look at the challenge from a fresh perspective. All too often we see companies lacking the same effectiveness to grow the company as they had to make it lean and more productive.

In making the company lean, business people take an inward focus to understand what’s going on in their operation. To grow however, it requires a commitment to understand the customer’s world. The answer will not be found in products you sell them today, or how you sell them, nor is the answer even in what customers tell you. Rather it is in your understanding of how the customer’s world is being impacted. As passionate as you are about your business, are you as passionate about improving your customer’s world?

Before you think you do understand your customers, ask these questions: Have you walked in their shoes and read between the lines in what they tell you? Do you understand what is affecting the day-in-the-life of your customer and your product’s role in their life? Can you quantify the things impacting your customer? Do you specifically know who else would really love what you sell because of the impact you could have on their world?

In other words, companies often struggle with growth because they are conducting business to make themselves succeed. Take a shot at conducting your business to make your customer’s world better. And if you are focused on helping your customer achieve their most important goals, we’d bet you see more uptick in sales growth.

What do you have to risk for trying this? Flat Sales.

© Eric Balinski- 2014


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