Posts Taged incremental

The One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge :: Week Seven :: Growth :: Reframing

This week’s One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge makes us look at our organization through a different lens.

Many of you have probably seen this. Connect the four dots with two straight lines. The lines must touch but not cross.

If you’re stuck, it’s because you tried to keep the straight lines inside the box. That wasn’t one of the requirements.

When we ponder growing our organization, we typically plan incremental growth that we could handle within the framework we already employ – if we grew x% we could ask the office staff to work some overtime or we could hire another technician. I’m all in favor of incremental growth and that type of growth is always welcome. However, for this week’s One Year, Thirty Minute Challenge, I want you to think differently. I want you to ask the question, “What would it take for us to do 10X the business we are doing now?” The genesis for this week’s exercise (but not the exercise itself) comes from Larry Page at Google who asks his team to look for 10X opportunities.

So, here’s this week’s exercise.

Identify the changes to your lead generation activities that would be required to generate 10X the number of leads you have now – would it require entering new markets? A larger sales staff? Additional advertising platforms?

To get to 10X sales, what would it take to increase your closing rate? If you close 10% of all sales presentations, what would it take to close 20%? What additional information would the customer need? A more meaningful connection to your company’s message – your why? Access to existing client testimonials? A better understanding of your company’s value proposition?

To increase velocity of service delivery after a closed sale, what changes would you need to make to customer onboarding activities? Do you need to replace your paper-based order system with an automated system? Do you need to ramp up your after-sale communication so that customer expectations are clear and they know exactly how and when product or service delivery will begin and how it will look?

To handle 10X the business, how will your production infrastructure need to change? Will the existing process bear the weight of 10X the amount of business or does a new production infrastructure need to be built – one that is built from the ground-up with the ability to scale? Do you have suppliers that can deliver 10X raw materials on time and with the required quality or do you need to add suppliers or seek a new supplier? Do you need to find subcontractors that can supplement in-house production? Can they do it with the same quality and meet your time constraints? Can you invoice and collect from 10X the number of customers or do you need to provide new billing or financing options that will keep your 10X cash flow healthy?

To follow up with 10X customers, do you need a more robust CRM system that can manage increased customer communication, customize communication and deliver valuable information after the sale? Can the system deliver on-going useful information that will position your organization for more sales in the future?

Clearly this brief exercise can’t touch on every element that you might need to 10X your business, but that’s not the purpose. The purpose is to help you think differently about business growth. Most of the time, we approach business growth like riding a bicycle. To increase velocity, we intensify existing activity. We do the same thing we’ve always been doing – just more of it – i.e., we pedal faster and longer. This will work for a while, but at some point, we max out the load-carrying capacity and speed of the bicycle. To make our business grow, we need to swap the bicycle for a motorcycle or a delivery van – more speed, more capacity. We must change platforms.

The value of this week’s exercise will come when you identify the pieces of your organization that won’t scale. When you find irreparable platform deficiencies where no amount of “pedaling” will fix them and they must be replaced. When you find people-constrained activities that must be replaced with repeatable processes.

All of us would like 10X growth, but doing this exercise will position your organization for 2X, 4X or 5X growth on the way there and you’ll be building an organization that is more platform-driven, process-driven and policy-driven – and that’s good for everyone in the organization.