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Business Oracle

Business Growth Challenges

Nick Devine, founder of The Print Coach, explains the process he uses weekly when clients approach him with business growth challenges needing meaningful answers and fast

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Nick Devine suggests there are concrete systems you can follow to overcome the challenge of sustaining growth

Three ways to grow your print company in a competitive market

What do you do when you know you have got a great product/service but you are not getting the level of sales or profit growth you know you should?

Do you know the fastest and most effective way to analyse your situation accurately and create a predictable plan of action?

The article you are about to read will help you if you have ever felt stuck when it comes to growing your company. The process I am about to explain is the exact same process I use on a weekly basis. When clients approach me with business growth challenges they need meaningful answers and they need them fast.

In order to help my clients produce predictable results, I look at their companies through three different filters. I even came up with a very innovative name for the process… the Three Business Growth Filters.

Systemisation is key

This process works equally well whether you are a team of five people or a team of 500 people. Please do not fall into the trap of thinking this is only relevant for companies that are a different size or structure to you. I am currently using this process with a variety of companies across different sectors and of different sizes.

I strongly recommend you get a copy of this article and keep it someplace where you can reference it regularly and easily.

Now, let me explain how each of the three filters work so that you can use them in your business. We will use the same process for looking at each of the three filters. First, we will define the problem we are trying to solve. Then I will give you a four-step system to help to solve the problem.

Customer development

The problem we are trying to solve: You already have a proven product and service but you do not have enough of the right types of clients paying the right price. You know that if you get more ideal clients paying premium pricing, your business would be a lot more successful.

You know that if you get more ideal clients paying premium pricing, your business would be a lot more successful


Here are the four parts of your customer development system you need to analyse.

Find: This is your lead generation system. It is your ability to generate enough quality prospects consistently so that you keep your sales pipeline full. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you working to a written list of your ideal prospects? You should have approximately 100 companies on that list.
  • Have you created a predictable lead generation system? Your lead generation system should include multiple lead sources including social selling (Linked In), telephone, print marketing, and e-mail/content marketing.

Win: This is your sales conversion system. This is the step-by-step method you use to convert an engaged prospect into a paying client. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a clearly defined 'difference maker' so you can attract premium pricing?
  • Are you using a proven consultative selling model that your salespeople/account managers are all working to?

Keep: This is your customer retention system. This is where you ring fence your most important clients from aggressive competitors who will lowball your pricing in order to steal your clients. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you segmented your existing customer database into the following three segments: most important (platinum), least important (silver), and medium importance (gold)?
  • Are your team working to clearly defined service standards for each of your three segments?

Grow: This is your account development system. This is how you predictably transition from initial transactions to long-term valued relationships. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you working to documented account growth plans for your most important account opportunities?
  • Are your team consistently using cross-sell, up-sell, and down-sell tactics to maximise both sales and profit margins?

Talent management
 
The problem we are trying to solve: You are regularly experiencing problems in one or more areas of your business. It could be production quality or inefficiencies. It might be underperformance from your sales team/account managers.

Poor company growth is often caused if business owners are overwhelmed with repetitive small problems with production quality, sales team under-performance, and finance department cash flow control



Maybe it is the finance department who are not collecting cash quickly enough. Here are the four parts of your talent management system that you need to analyse.

Find: This is your ability to find great quality candidates to interview when you have a career opportunity in your company. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you using a variety of systems to find quality candidates? It is particularly important that you know how to access the 80 percent of candidates who are not actively looking when you have an opening.
  • Do you have a virtual bench of potential people you could hire when your next career opportunity arises?

Hire: This is your ability to hire and onboard the right candidate. It is critical that your recruiting system helps you avoid costly mis-hires. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you using an interviewing system that enables us to find out if the candidate has the skills and experience to produce the results you are hiring them to produce?
  • Do you know how to make job offers that get accepted without overpaying?

Train: This is how you train and develop your team so that they learn, grow, and make an increasing contribution to your company. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a written training and development plan in place for everybody in your team?
  • Do your managers know how to coach individual team members to higher levels of performance?

Retain: This is your ability to retain the top talent on your team. You already know how disruptive it can be when a key team member leaves. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you clearly defined who the key talents are on your team?
  • Are you systematically building personal relationships with these key people? Do you know what their personal and professional goals, and aspirations are?

Strategic acceleration

The problem we are trying to solve: You created a financial forecast/budget, but you do not have a simple strategy document explaining your plan to achieve it. You find yourself repeatedly talking about the same issues with the same people but they are not getting solved in a predictable fashion.

If you create concrete systems for training, performance management, and fault correction it spreads the risk and increases efficiency



You ask people to make changes so that your business improves but there is no way to hold them accountable.
 
Here are the four parts of the strategic acceleration system you need to analyse.

Priorities: This is how you convert your business plan into a series of prioritised milestones that need to be delivered. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you working to a written plan that provides a roadmap for achieving your business goals?
  • Does your written plan proactively deal with the current business growth issues/constraints you are experiencing?

Ownership: This is where you align your team members behind the priorities identified in the written plan. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your team members crystal clear regarding what they are accountable for?
  • Have you put clear measurements in place so that there can be no confusion when it comes to defining success?

Communication: This is where you define your communication rhythm for your team. It is how you identify issues that are holding you back. This is also where you hold each other accountable for the deliverables you have agreed to. Ask yourself these questions:

  • As a team, have you agreed to a scheduled series of meetings so that you stay aligned and on course?
  • As each meeting are you working to a specific agenda that helps you stay on track so that your company achieves the outcomes it is aspiring to?

Velocity: This is your ability to speed up the rate which you achieve and succeed during each 90-day implementation cycle. Is your ability to learn and adapt from the previous 90-day period and progressively build in improvements to the way you move forward
as a team? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you using a proven process that enables you to review the wins and losses in the previous 90-day period?
  • Are you learning and adapting every 90 days based on your review methodology?

What to do next

Creating predictable and profitable growth in your company is all about optimising the core systems that make you money. The three business growth filters help you analyse your most important systems in a step-by-step fashion. If your business is not getting the level of sales and profits you want, you have one of two options.

Creating predictable and profitable growth in your company is all about optimising the core systems that make you money


Grab a blank sheet of paper and brainstorm one action point you could take to improve your results in each of the business growth filters. Next, select the item that is quickest and easiest to implement and start working on that now.

Grab a blank sheet of paper and brainstorm one action point you could take to improve your results in each of the business growth filters


Or, if you would like to take a shortcut you can request a free business growth filter strategy session with me. I am offering a number of free sessions to qualifying companies. You must apply within 28 days of the publishing date of this article. After the strategy session you will know how to apply the business growth filters to help your company create predictable, scalable, and profitable growth. To find out more, send an email to Nick@theprintcoach.com and put the words ‘Business Growth Filters’ in the subject line.


Nick Devine is the founder of The Print Coach. He helps print and packaging companies win new high margin accounts with guaranteed results. Visit www.theprintcoach.com for more information.


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