The days of ruthless downsizing and drastic cost cutting are long gone. Nowadays, companies have realized that the best way to earn profit is only through growth – profitable growth. In this book, author Ram Charan provides 10 tools anyone can use to hurdle obstacles and achieve profitable growth.
These tools are:
1. Revenue growth is everyone’s business, so make it part of everyone’s daily work routine.
2. Hit many singles and doubles, not just home runs.
3. Seek good growth and avoid bad growth.
4. Dispel the myths that inhibit both people and organizations from growing.
5. Turn the idea of productivity on its head by increasing revenue productivity.
6. Develop and implement a growth budget.
7. Beef up upstream marketing.
8. Understand how to do effective cross-selling (or value/solutions selling).
9. Create a social engine to accelerate revenue growth.
10. Operationalize innovation by converting ideas into revenue growth. One of the most critical points discussed is the need for re-orientation of thinking. Most businessmen and executives think about growth as “home-runs” and more often than not disregard the “singles and doubles”. Managers often look forward to the big breakthrough or the grand new product without realizing that home runs don’t happen everywhere – sometimes, they don’t even happen in a decade.
Instead of aiming for that one grand home run, aim for singles and doubles. This is a surer and more consistent path. Of course, it is important to note that while aiming for singles and doubles, one should not exclude home runs. These singles and doubles come from an in-depth analysis of ALL the fundamentals of a business.
Another factor to be considered is the difference between good growth and bad growth. Managers should dispel the myth that growth in whatever form is a victory. Although growth (both good and bad) builds revenue, only good growth increases not only revenues but also improves profits and is sustainable over time.
Bad growth, on the other hand, lowers shareholder value. Unwise mergers and acquisitions are examples of bad growth. Price cutting to gain market share without cutting costs can also be detrimental to your company’s health.
Here are some questions that can help you diagnose whether or not you are part of a growth business:
1. What percentage of time and emotional energy does the management team routinely devote to revenue growth?
2. Are there just exhortations and talk about growth or is there actually follow through?
3. Do managers talk about growth only in terms of home runs? Do they understand the importance of singles and doubles for long-term, sustained organic growth?
4. How much of each management team member’s time is devoted to making effective visits with customers? Do they do more than listen and probe for information and then try to “connect the dots”?
5. Does the management team come into contact with the final user of your product?
6. Are people in the business clear about what the specific future sources of revenue growth will be? Do they know who is accountable?
7. Would you characterize your company or business unit’s culture as cost cutting or growth oriented? If the answer is one or another you need to start doing both. Do people in leadership positions have the skill, orientation, and determination to grow revenues?
8. Does the company practice revenue productivity? Does it think through whether there are ways to more effectively use current resources to generate higher revenues?
9. How well does your sales force extract intelligence from customers and other players in the marketplace? How well is this information communicated and acted on by other parts of your organization, such as product development?
10. How good are the upstream marketing skills- that is, the ability to segment markets and identify consumer attributes- in your business?