Try These Six Business Accelerators for Higher Growth

Gaining traction. Scaling up. Maximizing business value. Whatever your definition of business growth is, investing in these six proven business accelerators is bound to make a difference.

We call them Market Fuel Strategies because they are designed to bring new energy to your business operations and increased profit to your bottom-line.

In hundreds of client engagements across the past 15 years, I have found that these six factors, when planned for, can have a dramatic impact on company, product and customer success.

As you consider these six accelerators, ask yourself:
1) How well are we doing today in this area?
2) Where do we want to be this time next year?
3) What is it going to take to get us there?

There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s look at each in detail. Today, we take a deep dive into product/service fuel. Over the next few weeks we will examine the rest of these six business accelerators and offer ideas on how to make them work better for your business.

Product Fuel

Your product fuel is driven by these three attributes:
• Product Strength: the marketability of your product/service based on the benefits and features that you offer to your customers.
• Competitive Strength: capabilities which enable you to take advantage of new market potential in competitive situations.
• Customer Strength: the match between your product results and your customer’s needs and wants. This drives market penetration.

Think of these as the lens from which to evaluate your product/service success.

Here’s a tool to help you determine the competitive and market strengths of your products and services. The key question is listed across the top. Examples are product strength features to consider. Add your own!

First, list the product or service’s top three strengths. You can determine that by answering a simple question: Why do customers choose your product over the alternative? The top three reasons are, from a market perspective, your top strengths.

Second, consider your competitive strength from two angles: 1) List your competitive advantages (product features, service practices, pricing, delivery, etc.); 2) consider your market opportunity: how many customers who could buy this product or service are actually buying it?

State as a percentage from 1% to 100%. The difference between your number and 100% is your market penetration opportunity.

Third, consider your customer strength by your ability to sell more of your product or service to additional customers (upsell) and new customer or market types you might be able to reach.

Once you have completed this snapshot, you should have a pretty good answer to the first and second accelerator questions: How well are we doing today in this area? Where do we want to be this time next year?

The third question – what is going to take to get us there? That’s all about resources: time, money, tool and talent. What resources do you have in your company to address the challenge and what do you need to get?

What’s the next step? Consider these:

• Where you are strong but not well known in the market, the accelerator step is most likely a new marketing or sales program.

• Where you are weak, especially competitively, the accelerator step is most likely product improvements or new product development.

Are You Too Busy To Grow?

Your business is moving full speed ahead and there aren’t enough hours in the day to meet all your customer, product and sales obligations. You’re slammed, so of course your business or practice is growing! How could it not be? We are serving customers, moving product, increasing sales.

Well, not so fast. Your business can be sprinting along but not necessarily growing. What’s the difference?

Speed is rapidly moving, traveling, speeding or performing. Speed is an activity.

Growth is a business, industry or equity that is expected to increase in value over a period of time. Growth is a process and an outcome.

Growth can be fast. If so, it brings the noted advantages of success and recognition as well as the disadvantages of over extension and profit killing curve balls. Growth can also be slow, measured, intentional and sustainable.

Ask yourself these five questions to see if your speed is truly yielding the long-term sustainable growth your business needs to thrive.

1. Are you so focused on getting things done today that you may be setting yourself up for a dry spell tomorrow? We all know the adage, working in your business instead of working on your business. It creates the kind of boom-bust cycle that too many business owners fall into.

2. What about fulfillment? Are you so busy booking orders that you fall behind in providing exceptional customer service? Are you stretching or missing production deadlines? Your booking speed is breaking your production capability and maybe your people as well.

3. How well are you nurturing long term relationships? Is the customer to come more enticing than the one who has been with you for months or years? Speed to growth often comes at the expense of loyal customers. That reduces your customer life time value, a key sustainable growth metric.

4. How about speed versus productivity? Does the push to do more, more, more create the opportunity for error? If so, do-overs to correct mistakes cost time, money and (see #3) customer and employee relationships.
5. Income versus profit? Speed can produce dramatic revenue increases but if the structures, processes, people and production are not there to support those sales, the speedy rise can forecast a speedy fall.

If any of these sound like you, your team or your day to day business operations, it’s time for a change. Here are two key steps you can take to move your mindset and business practices from speed to growth.

1. Take stock. Take a long look at each of the five areas outlined above. The Key Question: In each area, are my current activities and practices improving my long-term business viability and value or undermining it?

2. List the areas that need improvement from most needed to least needed. The Key Question: If you could only change one thing, what change would have the most positive and long-lasting change on your business growth?

Focus on changing that one thing first. Experience the difference one growth step can make.

What are your thoughts? Let’s talk about it, reach out. Contact clare@octaingrowth.com or 530-363-2043.

Turn Competitive Info into Cash

 

There’s information gold in knowing what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it. The trick is finding it and then knowing what to do with it.

Most of us know in general who our competitors are and what products and services they offer. But too often we don’t know much more than that or if we do know we may not be using the information as effectively as we could to improve sales, marketing and customer service operations.

This is where a new focus on competitors, called Competitive Marketing can help. When you focus more specifically and directly on what your competitors are doing and how well they are doing it, you gain the competitive advantage.

Done well, Competitive Marketing means you can almost predict what your competitors are going to do next and convert that information into cash.

Know Them

A strong Competitive Marketing plan includes these ten elements.

  1. Competitor name and general background information
  2. Corporate Team Background
  3. Products and Services
  4. Market Strength and Presence
  5. Branding/Message/Customer Focus
  6. Customer Loyalty Index
  7. Pricing
  8. Product Trends and Directions
  9. Lead Sources/Win-Loss Analysis
  10. SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Beat Them

If this sounds a lot like competitive research or analysis, you’re right. The difference between competitive analysis and Competitive Marketing is what you do with what you know.

Competitive research gathers the data, competitive analysis draws conclusions and provides recommendations, Competitive Marketing turns that information into better, more effective sales and marketing tools. Tools that result in your company’s ability to:

  • Win more sales deals
  • Arm internal customer champions with competitive facts
  • Give customer confidence in their choice of product/service
  • Train new sales reps
  • Provided a better customer experience
  • Improve strategic planning
  • Accelerate new product development

Competitive Marketing is an emerging new area of marketing that entrepreneurs, marketers and business owners can use to create tools to leverage their company strengths and protect against their weaknesses. To know your competitors is to beat them at their own game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Social Business Personality?

How you show up in your social communities matters. It matters a lot. Your personality probably shows up naturally in your personal social media interactions. But what about your business?

Global corporations spend millions creating “personalities” to represent their businesses. Personalities like “Flo” from Progressive Insurance or the AFLAC duck or even good ole “Tony the Tiger” from yester-year.

Your business has a personality too. Especially when it comes to social business. Your personality is more than just a way of connecting, it has an impact on the kind of content you deliver, the kind of connections you make, and how people will do business with you and refer you.

It’s that important.

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Is Your Content a Little Tyrant?

We all know that content is king but what do you do when your “content king” turns into a little tyrant? What happens to your marketing campaigns when content becomes an end in itself instead of a means to the end of connecting you to your customers?

Content becomes a tyrant when it drives the message instead of amplifying the message, the vision or the story. It becomes a tyrannical beast when the end goal of your content production is meeting a content quantity goal or due date instead of providing valuable educational, inspirational or practical insights.

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