I want to introduce guest blogger Bob Barker, a savvy businessman in Austin, Texas who advises CEOs through his company 20/20 Outlook. Bob and 20/20 Outlook work with “CEOs and boards to define a clear exit strategy, then craft a vision for growth aligned with the requirements of potential acquirers.
Is Your Company Geared Up for Growth?
By Bob Barker
“Gear up” means “to prepare for something that you have to do” or “to prepare someone else for something” (source: Cambridge Dictionary). To assess whether your company is prepared to grow, ask whether your management team has clear answers to 4 questions:
Does the company offer something special enough to compel customers to spend money?
The instinctive answer is, “of course it does.” After all, a customer base exists and the company is stable, even if growth is slow. But can the management team relate a shared, crystal clear vision of the company, its category, and its primary benefit? The kinds of companies it sells to? The roles of people within those companies that are involved in purchasing? Other unique qualities that differentiate you from competitors? Answers to these questions comprise a company’s strategic positioning, and a lack of team alignment on it leads to huge inefficiencies.
How does the company fit into the bigger picture of the market served?
Understanding which companies are competitors and which are potential allies is essential for sales success. Companies often assume competition exists when there may be a chance to partner effectively instead. Understanding the needs of other key companies leads to a clearer understanding of current opportunities, where value exists in your market space, and the potential to leverage the success of potential partners to provide better customer solutions.
“What relationships with other companies can accelerate growth?
Most CEOs are skeptical about partnering with another company because it’s perceived as too difficult to be successful. While most partnerships fail because of poor analysis, poor planning, and poor management, a well-planned partnership can enable a company to leapfrog its competitors.
How can the company operate more effectively to bring the CEO’s vision to reality?
Having the right growth strategy is important, but execution ultimately determines success. Once a company reaches a certain size, growth can be limited by having outmoded or inappropriate processes in place. “We’ve always done it this way” is not an acceptable answer. Outside help may be required to drive the strategy into successful execution. The chart below illustrates three levels of “gearing up” that a company can find itself in: stalled, moving, and accelerating.
Learning how to accelerate your vision and take your company from “stalled” to “accelerating” will be the topic of a subsequent post.