In looking back through the many clients that we have been fortunate to help, we have posed certain questions that made a significant difference in raising awareness of their appetite for growth. At times these questions were posed as part of support engagement. In others they were simply used as a thought-catalyst. In all cases, however, the answers that emerged helped our clients redefine aspects of their business that influenced near- and long-term growth. We have compiled a few such questions and are offering them to you to consider.
1. How many-fold can you increase your top line by expanding internationally?
If you find yourself in a recurring battle with the same competitors, for the same customers in the same domestic market, maybe it’s time you take a look abroad. Right now, at this very moment, there are customers outside of your domestic market who could use what you have to offer. The same goes to the channel partners that service said customers. Yes, there could be similar companies with similar offerings to yours, but your company may have that which is just different, fresh, or appealing enough to endear foreign buyers to switch over to your brand. Buyers are looking for services and products that are new or better than what they have in their own domestic markets. You never know until you look into it, and there are many low-risk, high return ways to do so for your business.
2. To what degree are you prepared to develop new vertical markets?
Aspiring to grow outside of your current vertical market can be deemed a strategic imperative as much as a basic operational requirement. You can fend off growth stagnation by seeking out new vertical markets that would be happy to buy what you are offering. In fact, it is one of the most solid ways to spur growth. However, be sure you know yourself, your current clients, and where you are headed before assigning copious amounts of resources and time to the endeavor. Prior to venturing out to the next market pasture, be sure to take an honest look at your own offering. Yes, hang onto your belief in success and strength of your business. However, do conduct a thorough assessment of what you have to offer and how it stacks up in the new market you are looking to pursue. It is much easier to sell something into a market void than it is to fight sophisticated, entrenched players off their territory. With a solid strategic and tactical plan, new markets can help transform your organization, your top-line and your future.
3. Are you leaving money on the table for not commanding the value your market is willing to bear?
One well established technology and technical services company had been providing a unique, high-quality suite of services to a broad for- and not-for-profit client base. Yet, they felt they could not quite hit a stride in profitability or even revenues until later into the engagement because so much up-front work was required. When we asked them: “What other alternatives do your customers have if not buying from you?” They told us there were a few other choices, but that they believed they were one of the best as evidenced by new and repeat business. We conducted an assessment and determined that the value of their services to clients was well above the monetary amount being charged for such services. We then suggested they place an up-front charge (of many tens of thousands of dollars) before any new project work began. Our hypothesis was that if customers balked then we would know that the repeat business was a function of low prices (which would prove to be a strong validation of the basis upon which the company should compete). However, if customers agreed, not only would it reinforce the value basis of selling, but would also increase revenues and profits. The result—100 percent client retention after the new commercial structure was in place coupled with strong financial performance at year-end.
4. How much have you leveraged technology to accelerate your growth?
Systems should be in place to help people operate at their peak, not the other way around. Yet, both young and established organizations alike bleed resources daily by working harder and not smarter. How well-leveraged is your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool? Are lead scoring, sales funnel management, and a buttoned-up sales process in place? How about using analytics tools to help glean richer information about prospects and close more deals—at home and abroad? What about deploying a marketing automation solution? Cloud applications and systems based on pay per usage structures can make the process less costly and managing customers worldwide simpler than you might think. As a leader, it’s your duty to uncork the efficiency of your team by placing the right tools in the hands of the right people and in the end have a positive effect on your topline.
Getting to the next level
Many of us are often too close to the day-to-day pressures of running a business in order to step back and take an objective look at how to tackle big picture strategic items—or the unexpected tactical glitch. Fluctuating between the 100- and 50,000-feet view multiple times in a day is a tough way to maintain perspective. However, in having a set of go-to questions to ask yourself and your leadership team at different altitudes within the day can help to unlock the answer that can spur your organization’s growth.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly turnkey global market specialists can help, contact our team.