How Are You Going to Grow?

Welcome to budgeting season. It’s the time of the year that I start fielding inquiries from executives that need help with strategic planning and P&L forecasts.

For many of the callers, the business issue is very compelling: we need to grow, but just don’t know how. Especially in a market that’s effectively sideways. And the status quo isn’t going to cut it.

Therein lays the challenge. And with that challenge comes a massive roadblock: one person (or more, unfortunately) on a leadership team who believes that planning for growth is easy: hire more sales reps to create new sales and account manager.

That’s not a plan. It’s a prayer.s to make more sales from current customers.

And it rarely works.

Growth comes from one simple proposition:  plan for a varied set of revenue programs. And that planning ain’t easy. You need to understand customers, markets and competition. Set goals. Make assumptions about market growth. Then you need to grind out a road map of what strategies you’re going to undertake to grow.

My simple recipe for long-term, strategic growth is fairly straightforward. It’s a diversified blueprint that includes a number of programs, including new and extended services and products, new geographies, new customers, M&A, strategic alliances and, yes, new sales. But each requires a game plan for execution. And each takes time to execute. Because, like a new sale, new products and alliances take a while to nurture.

So don’t trash your plan after a month because it’s not working. Have little patience and work off the goals you’ve set. Then map your progress and benefit from your plan.

Jim Lanzalotto

Jim Lanzalotto
Jim Lanzalotto runs Scanlon.Louis, a strategy and marketing outsourcing firm that helps companies grow. He can be reached at jim (at) scanlonlouis (dot) com.

Jim Lanzalotto

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