Taking Next Year to the Next Level
Have you experienced growth in 2018? How will you continue that growth in 2019? Today I was discussing 2019 goals with one of my colleagues. At the conclusion of our meeting I said, “Hopefully you don't think you haven’t been doing a good job, because you have been. However, you are capable of so much more. Did that come across in our conversation?”
“Yes, but it can be easy to misread the message,” he responded.
It became clear that the real obstacle to growth was my colleague’s view of growth itself. We immediately created a research action plan, using some key strategies that I share below to help us obtain credible data to fuel new growth in 2019. That data lead to clarity around opportunities for growth and finally, an assessment of resources.
This intentional process will become an annual best practice for me and my team, and has provided a renewed vision for growth during good times and not-so-good times.
Hit the Books
Research is a key element of growth, and here’s how you can “hit the books” to refuel for 2019. When you’re researching opportunities for growth, the best three resources to tap into are your customers, your industry vendors and your competition.
Growing and understanding your existing customer base will always be the most efficient avenue for getting to next-level growth. Take a close look at your customer roster. Determine who your ideal customers are, and remember that when you are developing strategies in every facet of your business.
It’s important to check in with each of your current customers in an effort to understand and anticipate their needs. Here’s three questions that can give you the information you need to create a customer growth plan for the year ahead:
- How’s business going?
- What trends do you see coming up next year for your customers?
- How do those trends align with your business?
Pay attention to their answers, and track them if you can. If a majority of your customers are telling you the same thing, then that’s a sure sign of what you’ll need to be focusing on in 2019. Technology and the utilization of a robust customer relationship management system (CRM) can bring value to this process. These systems provide important customer data that can really help you identify areas of growth.
Check in with vendors and the competition, too. Having just returned from the BSCAI Contracting Success Conference in Dallas, I can tell you firsthand that industry conferences are the best place to engage and collaborate with vendors and competitors. Attendance at conferences and industry forums is a valuable investment in your growth, so you might want to start researching the events that work for you and plan ahead for 2019.
When you’re at those events, listen closely. Certainly, your competitors won’t disclose their secret recipes; but often times you can get a sense of trends by listening to them and noticing the ideas and topics that are being addressed at the conference. Evaluate your competition. What are they doing and how are they doing it?
Align Your Resources
Once you’ve done your outside research by engaging your vendor partners, observing the competition and gaining customer feedback, it’s time to look inward and evaluate how to align your resources with your new-level growth path. I like to start every year by re-examining our value proposition and recommitting to it. Often times, when growth occurs, we lose focus of our true value proposition, and what got us here.
Growth often means changing staffing, with new hires, promotion and re-alignment within the organization. Start by taking a survey of your leadership team. When looking at your next level of growth, ask yourself which team members could help you get there? Will you need to grow your team by making new hires? Maybe what’s needed is a shift in focus for key team members. Which leaders will be needed for achieving your new goals? These are just a few of the questions you may want to address as you evaluate aligning your resources.
In a thriving economy, growth happens fast, and at times, very fast. The best way to fully understand this cycle of growth, one must slow things down, or even pause. Like a great movie, watching it at slower speed can give insights to all the critical details that we may just be missing. To that end, to effectively answer the above questions, take it slow.
To determine how to keep the momentum, consider the following five strategies:
- Re-examine your value proposition and recommit to it.
- Take a close look at your customer roster. Determine who your ideal customers are.
- Evaluate your competition. What are they doing and how are they doing it?
- Understand industry trends by communicating with your competitors and vendor partners (in addition to your customers).
- Take a survey of your leadership team. When you are looking at your next level of growth, ask yourself which team members could help you get there?
What’s your plan for growth in 2019 and beyond? Is it built on a solid best practice or just a good feeling?
Yasser Youssef is the president of The Budd Group, one of the leading facility service companies in the country a North Carolina-based company that provides facility support services in the Southeast. Throughout his career, Youssef has met leaders from all backgrounds, and believes leadership is for everyone. Over the past few years, he has developed an affinity for writing and contributing thought leadership, and is often asked to speak to businesses throughout the country about authentic leadership.
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