Three Questions that Will Drive Growth

When companies approach our firm and ask us to help them grow their businesses, we ask them what is your strategic planning process? As we have analyzed their organizations we found that learning and embracing strategic market planning was a key to strong growth that starts with asking a totally different set of questions.

The following are three primary questions that need to be asked and answered to drive business growth.

“What is your key differentiator that sets you apart from your competition?”

This question typically causes great anxiety among the leaders of the company because for years they have been living without a true market advantage. They have simply relied on what was popular and followed their industry’s perceived needs and interests. So they wind up sounding and looking like their competition, or they make claims and promises that they are unable to fulfill which further damages their reputation and client-community engagement.

“What is your business model that drives your company into profitable growth?”
If you ask this question to the financial people often they will provide overall financial P/L information but rarely is it linked back to a specific strategy. They simply cannot answer this question because they have not thought through their product to sales to profit strategy linking both their sales and financial results.

“Have you established specific metrics to drive your company’s growth?”
The positive impact of this question is it forces the full team to determine what the definition of success is and the steps that are required to get there. Most company executives know where they would like to go, but they are not clear about how to get there. The saying, “Can’t see the forest through the trees” is often in play. This is because they enjoy studying two or three of their favorite trees with such intensity they forget about the full context of the forest-market.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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