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Your checklist for growth in 2015

To grow effectively in the new year, you need to begin with preparation and planning stages, not unlike the work necessary before you take a journey or climb a mountain. Think of the new year as a new journey.  To begin, you need proven tools and expert guides to help you navigate the path and meet the challenges ahead.Tourist on the road

Here is the short, but important, checklist as you take your business into the new year:

 1.  Take the right tools

First, a good map gives you a clear picture of the distance and direction of the goal, and the time and cost requirements of the journey. It helps you sequence the steps necessary to overcome obstacles, and to establish a firm expectation of the steps that are necessary for you to reach the mountain summit.

Likewise, in business you need a plan that leverages your assets, stewards your limited resources, and creates a series of successes to build confidence and drive change.  A map helps you determine what investment is the right one to make.

  • What is the critical path for your growth?

Second, you need a compass that shows you where you are, points out True North and helps you determine the direction you need to head to reach your goals. Your values and vision provide a compass. If you don't have a clear view of True North and the changes you need to make, you'll be flying blind.

  • As you manage your team, what single personal value do want every employee to embrace and reflect to customers?
  • What picture of the future, or vision, will motivate every employee to increased productivity and personal achievement?
  • What is your True North?

Third, you need a guide that helps you see things from the perspective of experience or knowledge that you wouldn’t see. If you’re climbing Everest, you need a Sherpa. If you’re in business, you need experts who can provide perspective, wisdom and counsel; people with expertise who have helped many others before.

  • Whom do you trust to help you see what you're missing?

 

2.  Diagnose your situation

You need to know how you are doing before you can know what you need to maintain, change or correct. At The Valcort Group, our diagnostics are proven tools that uncover your greatest strengths, hidden assets, engagement gaps, trust breakdowns, and process weaknesses.

  • Leadership Team Alignment Test (ROI Survey): A quick 10-minute online employee survey that reveals how effectively you are engaging customers today. This is free for your executive team.
  • Trust CILE: A 15 question customer survey that reveals your customer's perception of your value, their trust and they experience cost/benefit.
  • Culture Snapshot: 5 minute all-employee online and paper-based survey that shows the glue and untapped potential within your employee team.

 

3. Reconnaissance

To grow, you need to understand your customers and their changing market and build a plan to align, innovate and capture untapped demand. Building a solid plan requires an understanding of your organization and its offerings from the perspective of your current and prospective customers.

There are two phases of this research:

Understanding your Business:  Inside Out 

What assumptions do your people hold about your business?  Your customers?  Your market?  What are the top misperceptions held by your employees about the company?  About your customers?

To create customer engagement, your employees must have an accurate picture of customer needs and frustrations, the market, and clear understanding of the company and its unique value.

Understanding your Business - Outside In   (customers, competitors and champions)

Growth requires making the right investment at the right time.  Unfortunately, many organizations jump on an idea that may not have value to customers, or it may be too early or too late.

  • What do your customers really want?  What are they really willing to buy?  What frustrations do they hold that you can solve?
  • What are your competitors doing better than you?  How are they engaging customers better?  Where are they headed?
  • You have some champions and advocates in the market. What do they see that you don't?  What do they tell others about you?

Capturing customer perspectives is essential to smart investments, resource planning, and high ROI.  We recommend polling customers annually to ensure alignment and create fast, sustainable growth.

 

4. Draw the roadmap for growth

  • How can you best position yourself among your competitors for fast, sustained growth
  • What is the key message you want every employee to remember and to communicate to others?
  • What is your new platform to fuel new growth and sustained profitability?

 

A business roadmap, or plan, will address questions such of these. With a realistic understanding of your business and actionable insight from the market, it’s easy to map a sequenced series of steps, activities and investments to better engage customers and seize opportunity for new revenue growth.

Your plan must be logical, feasible, and understood and owned by your people.  It must inspire, engage and equip them to change and better mobilize their strengths. Your organization must stay focused on simple activities that drive significant change and growth.  A good plan wisely stewards your assets, time and money, and allocates your limited resources to gain the fastest, highest return on investment.

 

5.  Line up your resources

  • How will your organization change to better create and capture demand
  • How will every employee better engage customers to create energy and momentum?
  • How much will innovation cost you this year?  How soon do you expect to see a return?
  • Do you have the competence and capacity needed to be successful?
  • How will you deploy your best people to ensure the greatest return?

 

You cannot have growth without increasing customer engagement. Creating better customer engagement efficiently requires every employee task to be aligned to address customer needs.  It requires a compelling vision of what could be, clear roles and responsibilities to accomplish it, and accountability to measure customer engagement progress for every employee.

 

6. Go for it

A shared vision of greater customer engagement creates a widely felt urgency for change throughout the organization.  Implementation roll out requires careful planning and thoughtful communication to avoid disrupting the core.  Keeping the voice of the customer in front of you helps build trust and employee engagement.

Other priorities as you move forward:

  • Coordinated functional implementation across teams.  Functional teams engage to prepare and execute on a new promise.
  • Consistent reinforcement of values, vision and strategy.
  • Clarity on initiatives, roles and responsibilities (which creates calm)
  • Staged pre-announcement fuels excitement and participation from key accounts and key vendors.
  • A visible launch event drives change across the organization.  A relevant and highly visible launch creates urgency for alignment and execution with excellence.    An industry launch highlighting a new vision, change, platform, innovations creates buzz and momentum.
  • Breakdowns and disconnects will occur, but constant, regular status checks clarify steps forward.

 

With decades of experience helping leaders grow their business, The Valcort Group can help you with this process quickly, cost-effectively and efficiently.  We have an in-depth process for identifying your company's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, our proven process helps your organization pinpoint new opportunities and boost ROI.  Learn about the VALCORT process.

Drop us a note at chuck@valcort.com

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