Here are ten key lessons critical for rapid growth.
The first few questions relate directly to the ability of your company to mature to scale. The fundamental question that each and every company that aspires to rapid growth needs to ask is “are we setting up things today (and everyday) for success to scale?” There are no right answers. It may be that now is not the right time to make the time or space to grow – and that’s okay. But you have to be honest.
If it’s not written down it is not correct (or doesn’t exist)
If the way that you have been successful thus far is a secret sauce of your charisma and a great product and some well-timed luck, and nowhere is this recipe for success recorded you are not ready to rapidly grow. You haven’t given enough thought to the steps to success for someone other than you to take the reins. Writing important stuff down is, well…important.
You are no longer selling “you”
Every successful entrepreneur either is a type A person with a high degree of charisma or a product or process genius. If you try and scale your company by hiring some great employees who fall flat on their faces without you at their side, you have problem. Do you have a “product offering” that gets customized for each sale? How can the best salesperson be successful without a defined product? See tip #1 – write it down, the exercise will show you the gaps.
Urgency (and a healthy degree of stress) is required to push the envelope.
If you have a team of sales people clicking along and doing their job and revenue is clocking in, but there is no urgency to triple current results you have a healthy business but not the preconditions for massive growth. Can you feel the energy in the office, or have people become complacent?
The next few questions are sales process related. Once you experience success and want to get to the next level here are the things that will hang you up on the path to world domination:
Ask yourself the hard question – are you (or your team) asking the hard questions?
Asking tough questions is the fastest way to validate your sales funnel and/or get smart about how to pivot your product or service offering. I have had the conversation with some many clients that goes something like: “have you asked your customer why not now, what else or what would it take” and often I get shocked faces and the resistance that this is too forward of a question. Every single time we ask the hard question, insight follows. So ask yourself – are you asking the hard questions?
Do you expect mental telepathy from your clients and prospects?
Sometimes the problem is that you assume you know the answer to the hard questions OR you have a belief that your customers understand your big dreams and their part in getting you to the top of the mountain of success. Let me break it to you – they don’t think about you that much, or that deeply. They can’t read your mind and as much as they might love you and want to be on the journey with you – you must be clear and ask for what you need from them!
If you are not tracking to goals you are headed toward failure.
This is a big one. Who knew I’d be spending so much time on sales funnel 101? If there is not an agreed to and understood goal for each contributor that rolls up to a number that serves the business goals – you are running your business on a wing and a prayer. You might as well buy a lottery ticket if you find yourself here! Spend the time and do the homework. Build out goals. Write them down. Have everyone agree and track them. When and if you fall short it will be WAY easier to assess what to do next.
The last of the ten ideas are all about the management of the company from an operations and visioning perspective.
Your audacious goals are likely not realistic (or motivating) for your staff.
I get it – you live in the world of the art of the possible and god love you because so few people have this worldview. But here is the thing – you are in a minority. Very few people live with the art of the possible motivating them minute by minute. Consider what goals you share with the team and why. Are they understandable based on the reality of today? Staff need to be clear about their role inside the company goal that you articulate. The next question is: are these goals motivating to them? If the answers to any of these questions is no, keep them to yourself. You need to lead your company by giving your staff who is running the business day to day goals that speak to them (not you).
Your unconscious competants are your greatest return on investment to drive new revenue
If you have someone quietly killing it, with humility and consistency spend 80% of your available coaching time with them. They “get” things. They take initiative. They will push the envelope and try new things that will be fundamental to creating new revenue streams. Don’t let their lack of self-promotion make them invisible. They are critical to your bottom line.
Coin operated only reps are fair-weather friends.
You know who I am talking about. The sales rep who seemingly has a minor in forensic audit when it comes to their deals and ensuing commission check. These folks are in it for a good time, not a long time. Competition and keeping score with results is a good trait in salespeople. But over rotation on every nickel and dime is the profile of a completely self-interested rep that will not consider the best interest of your clients or the business in their path to self-aggrandizement.
Un-Coachable “stars” do not belong on the team
Finally – this is a hard one. Especially for companies that are growing quickly and especially where there have been critical-in-the-early-days employees where founders have justifiable loyalty. In order for growth at all levels, there’s a degree of self-awareness and desire to improve. If you have a cock of the walk salesperson who refuses to change or adapt they are a cancer to you scaling goals. Despite their track record, you will lose potentially better new hires because of their aura, you will stall your growth because of their inability to go bigger and do things differently and existing staff who recognize these people will work around these individuals costing you cycles.
Written By Anna Foat