How to grow organically
At RedBalloon we have always grown organically, no acquisitions, mergers or other major transactions. So I was fascinated to learn how to keep growing from within.
Clearly the bigger a company gets the harder it is to have triple digit growth every year. (I think we are at 24% growth this year, down from 62% last year.)
According to Bloom, some of the limitations to growth outlined:
Self delusion: "I'm doing OK, this is just a temporary downturn."
Procrastination: "I'll get to my growth plan next month - well, maybe next year."
Don't know how: "What I need is a step by step ‘dummies guide' to growth."
I'd add to this; overwhelm: "Where do I start?"
Bloom believes that growth from the inside is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to grow any kind of company.
Hidden inside every business is a valuable under-utilised or undiscovered strategic asset that can generate growth.
You grow from the inside by discovering your hidden strategic asset, nurturing it and becoming well known for it.
Growth from inside your business requires little or no investment in infrastructure or advertising - now that is interesting.
He made quite the point that "customer is singular - need to be listened to one-by-one". This is interesting, because it is like looking for the "black swan" moment. One customer will deliver the gold.
That is the juicy piece of information that gives you the insight you need for growth. (Every person who goes on a RedBalloon experience receives a "How was it for you?" survey following the experience. The wonderful Georgia in our team reviews each response... looking for gold.)
"Customer" is the most important word in the business language. But don't make it plural - keep it singular.
"We start with customers; we figure out what they want and then we work out how we're going to get it to them." Simple.
Customers need a tangible and an emotional benefit - consistently and repetitively.
WHO is the core customer most likely to buy your product or service in a quantity required for optimal profit?
WHAT is the uncommon offering that your business owns and can leverage?
HOW, the persuasive strategy that will convince your core customer to buy your uncommon offering, versus all other offerings.
OWN IT, the series of imaginative acts that will celebrate your uncommon offering and make it well known to your core customer.
Let me give an example:
I recently had my wedding ring "reset". This was done by a friend of mine in Auckland who does custom jewellery, Jen B. She attended the same session as I did and came up with the following answers to the Who, What, How questions above.
A successful woman who wears the pants, can afford the best and wants to reward herself. (Is that me she is talking about?)
An exciting creative experience of working intimately with a trusted world class designer, to co-create a one off jewellery piece.
Inspire my clients to share their thrill and pride of having co-created a piece of bespoke jewellery that expresses their individual style by referring others.
This has got me thinking about our "unique selling point". I suppose that is what we are talking about here.
But when we serve so many different types of customers, then how can we define it simply? Corporate customer, consumers, supply customers? (There will be something that unites them, and I'm pondering this right now.)
Let me know your thoughts.