Getting a promotional pop in business is exhilarating. But, typically, it’s marketing driven. It’s short term. So, how do you grow your business strategically – in a way that creates value and sustains it over time? By understanding and identifying the 3Ps unique to your business. Doing this will unlock your long-term growth potential and give you the focus to achieve it. So, let’s get started!
What Are Your Possibilities?
Why is what you do important? As you think of what this might be, it’s good to think about how your business impacts our world, our society, and our lives. How does it fit into something bigger that makes a difference? This approach forces us to think more about the outcomes of our work (vs. activities) and think on a higher level about the context surrounding our business.
Sound a bit too emotional or soft? Good. People connect with emotions, so establishing those emotional responses will build more long-term relationships and loyalty for your business.
What Is Your Purpose?
Next, you need to answer the universal question that all customers ask: “What’s in it for me?” You should have two to five words that clearly express what benefit you deliver to those you serve. How does your business improve their lives?
Once you determine what benefits you deliver, identify two to five words about how your business accomplishes that. Often, many businesses wrongly think the means of how they do something is what they do. For example, does a burger restaurant make burgers? Or, do they satisfy hunger by serving a tasty burger? There is a huge difference.
Lastly, you must always understand your audience. Who are they geographically? Demographically? What are their interests and activities? Your business has an audience, and it’s important to articulate that as part of your messaging so people can identify if what you are delivering is meant for them. For example, if you make luxury homes, perhaps your audience is those who “appreciate charm and character” (a real example).
Don’t think this matters? I recently attended a funding pitch for a startup. The target company had a great mission statement, except they didn’t include their audience. The first question from the investors after they left was, “Who is this for?” No one could answer. Needless to say, they didn’t get the capital they were seeking.
Now, you have established what you do, how you do it, and who it is for. These are the primary talking points for your elevator speech, media interviews and your collateral and communication materials. Now, to the final P.
What Is the Plan?
We all have business aspirations, but we may not have realized them yet. You need a plan to serve as your foundation, even if it is imperfect and changing (in fact, it is probably better that it does). Start with the two to three themes you think are important to your customers. Perhaps it’s innovation, exceptional service, an unparalleled product?
Once these are fleshed out, what are the areas of action within the business that need to improve to make these themes a reality? Perhaps you may need new inventory management systems integrated with distribution channels, or talent acquisition and development. These are things you need to drive the growth strategy forward.
Finally, how will you determine what success is? Think of the outcomes from the strategic initiatives you are launching. How will you know to stop working on them because you have achieved success?
Now, you have established the outcomes, external initiatives, and internal drivers to map out your plan to achieve your purpose. Add in accountability, timelines, and communication, and you have some real elements to mobilize change within your organization.
Sustained strategic business growth is no accident. It comes from conceptualizing the possibilities for your business, identifying its central purpose, and mobilizing and executing through a plan. With the 3Ps in place, your business is now positioned to move beyond the fleeting peaks and discouraging valleys, and on to more steady stability and success.