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EVALUATE, THEN GROW.
Posted on: July 25th, 2019
A one-week Growth Evaluation is a proven recipe to kick off significant growth initiatives.
If you never dreamed of building a deeper connection with your current or future customers – and the added revenues and higher company valuation that may deliver – you won’t like this blog. But if you have growth dreams or “billion-dollar ideas with zero revenues” waiting to be implemented, keep reading.
I often work with owners and executives who are so busy putting out fires or engaging their team that the right approach for articulating the “next big leap” can be a real challenge. Too often we either want to “just start” (with too little direction for the team to succeed) or we dream of having a “solid plan, well researched and bullet proof against all potential hiccups.”
There is a practical golden middle for articulating a growth opportunity, a three-step “Growth Evaluation” process. I used it for years to uncover opportunities and start implementation of growth initiatives worth tens of millions of dollars of new revenues. Here goes:
Dedicate about one week of concerted effort, spread over several weeks, with half that time to gather input (asking prepared, detailed questions) and the other half to write the output (describing the growth opportunity and how to make it happen). The effort should be guided and championed by a ‘been-there-done-that’ expert (or in our case a Growth Sherpa) to ensure you stay in the aforementioned golden middle.
Input will come from your stakeholders who can describe portions of your business, from value proposition (what is it, and for what market?), to team capabilities and bottlenecks and processes (or lack thereof), to sales tools (how effective or lacking are they?) and market descriptions (both quantitative metrics and qualitative dynamics) of markets you operate in now or plan to reach.
Output (a.k.a. the Growth Evaluation) is best organized into three sections:
Describe the Situation: describe your company in terms I call “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” This is essential for alignment. If your stakeholders don’t agree on the company’s situation, they’ll agree much less on a specific growth opportunity and the activities and resources needed to go after it.
Define the Growth Opportunity: will you develop new adjacent categories, or new channels of distribution, or can significant revenue growth come from an integrated marketing approach (improved go-to-market process) to sell more of your core categories with more market share in core distribution channels? Dare to name the revenue goal, before recommending resource investment. Only by articulating answers (quantitatively and qualitatively) can you prioritize.
Define the Activities: what needs to be done to turn the opportunity into reality? How much time will the activities require? These answers are needed to estimate costs required to reap the benefits of growth.
Invest a week to evaluate – to define the growth opportunity and activities needed for implementation; then either abandon (if ROI is sub-par) or transform it into reality – to grow and prosper.