If you do what I do, the first conversation you tend to have with people is focussed on sales. That makes sense. Ambitious people build ambitious companies, and ambitious companies want to grow. Even the thickest business owner knows that if they sell more, they get more. It’s a pretty basic concept.
They aren’t wrong. Sales is a hugely important part of any business. It’s the only real way to grow a business properly.
(Yes, I know, you can get investment in your business. That’s very true, and for some companies it’s the right thing to do. But if you look at it another way, investment really just means you need to make bigger numbers. You have to make it back one way or another.)
Growth is the best thing that can happen to your company.
Where was I? Oh yeah, sales.
I bet if you asked most growing businesses what is their biggest headache they’d pretty quickly answer: cashflow.
What helps with cash-flow? Sales.
Some of them might answer people. They don’t have enough people to cope.
How do you get more people? Sales. Make more money and you can hire more people.
So you’d expect that I’d welcome starting out a conversation around sales. We’ve had a lot of success in growing companies, so the sales conversation must be the easiest way for us to win a new client.
It is an easy win, but it’s not one that I tend to take, and I’ll tell you why.
The dirty truth is that for the majority of good growing companies, sales is rarely key element that is holding back the further growth of their business. In reality, getting the sales is relatively easy. Sure we can build in a better marketing strategy and a better sales process. We can design better sales materials and train their salespeople better. We can position their company and we can identify new opportunities. That’s all pretty much bread-and-butter stuff.
We can build all of those things, but they still make struggle to achieve significant growth. And there is a simple reason why that’s true: they aren’t set up to manage that growth.
Hear me out.
Your company has stagnated for a reason.
A lot go ambitious companies tend to hit a growth wall at some stage or another. they have grown and grown to a certain level and then…BANG…they suddenly find that they have levelled off. Sales still come in, but the profit levels aren’t going up any more and the turnover is stuck in a certain range and they can’t reliably get it moving upwards again.
The curve that used to look like this:
is now looking a lot more like this:
What happened? They haven’t suddenly stopped being good at what they do. They still sell the same way and it still seems to be working. They are getting the numbers in, so why aren’t they continuing to see the growth?
Sometimes, getting the sales is the easy part.
The old saying “the bigger you are the harder you fall” doesn’t really fit. For our purpose, a better version would be “the bigger you grow, the more you have to manage”. Growth brings complexity. It brings challenges. It impacts delivery. It stresses systems.
Growth could be the worst thing that can happen to your company.
That’s not me just being dramatic (although I do have a flair). We’ve seen a number of companies that go up quick and come down quicker, and the reason tends to be the simple fact that they can’t handle the growth they achieve.
Back to my conversations with our fictional prospect. They want to talk to us about sales. I tell them sales may be the easy part. How are we planning for that growth?
That’s where we developed our approach at Gamechangers. Yes we’ll create the strategy to help you grow, but we’ll probably spend even more time making sure the fundamental building blocks of the company can handle that growth. That means we’ll pull apart your processes. We’ll take the time ti understand your staff. We’ll nosy around your systems.
We have to. It’s the only way we can make sure the growth we’re planning will be sustained.