We recently surveyed our B2B community, and inertia was a recurring theme.
I’m not naive. Credit is tight, buyers are
slow to make purchasing decisions, and global economic malaise hampers
innovation. When it comes to investing in growth, today’s volatile
economy clearly makes many of us risk averse.
We recently surveyed our business community to learn how company leaders were
responding to these dynamics; we wanted to identify the biggest issues
they’re facing, and discern how and where they’re investing to activate
organic growth. Hopefully, the survey insights below serve as preventive
measures to help you avoid falling into the inertia trap in your
Respondents shared their biggest challenges:
- Attracting more clients (49.5 percent)
- Increasing referrals (34 percent)
- Defining their company’s unique value (27.2 percent)
- Staying focused on their top priorities (27.2 percent)
Some companies are investing in a number of areas to grow in spite of
this challenging economy. The most common strategies mentioned were:
- Eliminating non-core operations and offerings (13 percent)
- Hiring more salespeople and adding more business partners (10.7 percent)
- Purchasing books, planning tools, or joining mentoring/coaching programs (10.7 percent)
Now for the most disturbing insight from our study: 49.4 percent of
the respondents are either unsure (“Other amount”) or unwilling
(“Nothing at this time”) to invest funds to address the growth gaps.
That means they are vulnerable to competitive attack, customer
defection, and stagnation.
What is causing this? There is no single answer. The key lesson is
that inertia is a symptom of uncertainty, and, unfortunately, it’s
winning the battle over innovation.
It’s possible to break free from this mind-set and behavior. Here are strategies we recommend:
- Be clear on how ready you are to grow. Are you really
committed to growth, or are you running a lifestyle business? Is it
time to sell out? Any answer is fine. Just be honest with yourself, and
with those whose livelihoods depend on you. Select the areas to improve
or stop doing, and position your company for success in 2012. Our Wealthy Company Scorecard looks at 49 key areas that a company should consider to ensure that it’s prepared to grow.
- Use the slowdown to your advantage by identifying new or underserved markets.
Your competitors are probably sitting on those cash stockpiles right
now. They may be cutting back on marketing spending, networking, and
alliance building. Revisit your go to market strategy.
- Pump up your marketing messaging. Many
companies–especially professional services and technology firms–fall
in love with their methodology and expertise. Clients don’t care. They
want to know what specific outcomes you help them achieve. Get clear on
what makes you unique, and why people buy from you. That will inform all
of your messaging and all communications materials. More important, it
will drive more leads in your direction.
Read a related post on innovative growth strategies here.
This post originally appeared on 1to1 media.
–Author Lisa Nirell helps companies grow customer mind share and
market share. Since 1983, Lisa has worked with Sony, Wells Fargo
Advisors, Adobe, Microsoft, and hundreds of entrepreneurs in nine
countries. Lisa is also an award-winning expert speaker, FastCompany
expert blogger, and author of the acclaimed EnergizeGrowth® NOW: The
Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company. Download your sample chapter and
business energy booster survey at energizegrowth.com. Copyright 2011, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
[image flickr user halco]