By Keith Cunningham
Tragically, too many business owners have subscribed to the bathrobe theory of business − one size fits all − which says that whenever there is a problem, “Grow!“
Conventional wisdom seems to dictate that growth is the answer, regardless of the question. The ‘Kool-Aid’ that the growth experts recommend for superior financial performance is to tweak the website, change the advertising copy, tweet and blog more frequently, hire a new graphic artist to redo the logo and brochure, rejigger the sales commission structure, add two new salespeople… all in an effort to find new customers and grow the business.
Having only a throttle in your business cockpit and assuming that doubling the amount of horsepower in your engine will cause your business to go twice as fast is seductive, but delusional.
As much as I like the idea of adding new customers, the reality is you already are adding new customers. Here is the proof: How big would your business be if you still had every customer that ever tried you?
I have asked this question to tens of thousands of business owners over the last 15-20 years and without exception, the answers are 3X, 10X, 100X bigger. What is your answer?
Our biggest impediment to growing our businesses is not an inability to attract new customers but rather an inability to keep them coming back for seconds and fifths. We are so addicted to the idea of ‘getting new’ that we forget about the ‘keeping them coming back’ part, so we add three new and lose three existing, confusing sweat with productivity. Dumb!
If you are truly committed to growing your business, figure out the answer to these next two questions and I promise you will find the growth you are looking for:
- How would I have to run my business so customers would say: “I’d have to be crazy to go somewhere else?”
- If 100% of my future growth was by referral only, how would I run my business?
You answer these two questions and the growth you are seeking will happen… and you will make more money in the process.
Keith Cunningham is a seasoned entrepreneur, international speaker and acclaimed author. He is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on business mastery with more than 40 years of business and investing experience.
This column appeared on the August 2014 issue of Nordic Business Report. Read the full magazine here »