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Let’s talk operational strength for a minute.
When they first start working “on the business,” many entrepreneurs focus their efforts on getting their company operationally sound.
It makes sense that you need to be great at what you do if you want happy customers and clients to keep paying for that thing.
If you’re an accountant, you need to be great at accounting.
If you’re a lawyer, you need to be great at lawyer-ing.
If you’re a software provider, you need to be great at making and delivering software.
And behind the scenes, you need to make all of that product or service delivery run smoothly. It’s sound logic. The only problem is that too many entrepreneurs use operational strength as a stand-in for business strategy.
Running an amazing business and delivering great products or services will help your company grow. You’ll organically get referrals from happy clients, and word of mouth will expand your business over time.
Why? Because you can’t drive organic growth. You can’t control when someone mentions you to a friend over lunch or sends an intro to your next client your way.
You DO need to run a good business in order to grow. But you need more than that if you want to set meaningful goals for your company and have a plan for actually reaching them.
Think of it this way: if you lace up your sneakers and go out for a run, and do that every day, you’ll get better at running. You’ll be able to run farther and faster over time. You’ll grow organically.
But what if you wanted to run a marathon in two months? Now you’ve got a defined goal: be able to run 26.2 miles 8 weeks from now. And you’d need a defined path to get there as well.
You’d seek help from people who have done it before (even if you just took the free advice from their websites).
You’d develop a plan to train for the race with concrete milestones.
You’d work the plan to make sure that on marathon day, you were more than ready to cross the finish line.
THAT is strategic thinking. And that’s what is missing from an operations-focused approach to growing your company—all you can do is wait and see what happens. But I know entrepreneurs, and “wait and see” isn’t exactly how we like to do things.
So how do you set your company up for growth that you can drive? The same way you’d train for a marathon.
Seek help from people who have done it before. Our consulting team is made up entirely of current or past business owners. We’ve done that thing you want to do (and made some mistakes we’d like to help you avoid along the way!).
Develop a plan to reach your goal. Choose one or two proven strategies for growth.
Here are a few ideas:
(1) Raise your prices (2) Hire more salespeople (3) Buy a company or executive with an established book of business (4) Grow your email list and send them valuable content every week (#meta) (5) Find a new customer segment to target
. . . and more. If you want the complete list of How Companies Grow℠, email us and we’ll send it to you.
Work the plan. Execution and consistency are easier said than done. Here’s where you can leverage your operational strength to make sure you do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it.
Being operationally strong is a crucial part of running a good company. But to get where most entrepreneurs want to go ($5M, $10M, $50M), good operations is only the beginning.