Every entrepreneur and business owner goes through it – you’ve started your company and experienced great initial success, but eventually your growth starts to slow.
All mid-market organizations come to a point where they’ve hit a ceiling of complexity – when you have many more people and priorities than you started out with and have to shift your processes in order to continue growing. If you don’t make that necessary shift in how you execute the work, you won’t be able to get to that next level of success.
Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors
As work becomes more complicated, reaching that next level requires a new approach. Gone are the days of working individually and in silos. Today, businesses must encourage teamwork and collaboration in order to take advantage of the collective brain trust of employees.
Taking this new approach can seem like a daunting task – after all, you’re used to a certain way of working and that’s been successful in the past. But all successful businesses got where they are because they took risks and recognized when the ways of the past didn’t support their future direction.
Step #1: Align to a Core Vision
Having a core vision for your company will help you start executing for success. A great vision can empower your team to do the right things to help propel the company forward. It creates a culture of innovation and commitment, where all employees feel inspired to give their best and think creatively in order to reach a common goal.
In fact, having the right core vision in place can help you raise the bar not just on employee performance, but also in what type of employees you hire, client interaction and engagement, streamlined internal processes and reaching your short and long-term goals. Developing your long-term core vision may seem overwhelming, but your plan can develop over time if you start with a strong foundation.
To start formulating your company’s long-term vision, to drive your strategies and plans, ask yourself a few simple questions:
What’s your company’s core purpose?
What are your core competencies?
What do you have the potential to be best at and what sets you apart?
What drives your company’s profitability? Is it customer interaction, product, location?
Where do you see the company in 10 years? 25 years?
With these answers, you’re now able to determine a clear and compelling vision that will serve as a focal point for all employees and initiatives within the company, unifying efforts to reach that finish line.
Step #2: Make Winning Moves
After you identify your vision for the future of the company, you can figure out the best path forward. While you might have lots of great ideas to catalyze company’s growth, implementing too many growth strategies can actually hinder success; splitting your team’s focus and reducing effectiveness.
In order to allocate resources intelligently without overloading your team, identify the top two or three strategies with potential to significantly increase revenue in a 3-5 year period. Picking the best opportunities will help you focus efforts on winning moves that will bring you the maximum return on investment.
After brainstorming potential ideas, pare them down by determining two things:
What is the potential impact for revenue growth? Rate it from 1 to 10 with a higher rating meaning it has a more positive impact on revenue growth over the next three years.
How easy is it to do? Consider the resources, current skills and current projects. Rate it from 1 to 10 with a higher rating meaning it’s easier and less resource-intensive to get done over the next three years.
By discussing and debating the merits of each idea, you will be able to choose the top two or three strategies that will help you grow faster and smarter. Save the other ideas for later – they might become tomorrow’s winning moves.
Step #3: Track Your Path to Success
Now that you have your vision and plan in place, it’s time to do the work. Since you have a strategic plan, you and your team know what needs to be done to reach your goals.
However, sometimes unexpected occurrences can put a hitch in your plans. That’s where key performance indicators, or KPIs, come into play.
KPIs will help you evaluate your success at reaching key business objectives. Leading indicators, specifically, are KPIs that will help you forecast and predict your results. Good leading indicators should let you know if you’re on track to achieve your goal.
To figure out what you should be measuring each quarter, ask yourself:
What problem do I need to solve?
How do I measure progress?
What are the success criteria?
What actions should I take to reach our goals?
What actions should I take to fix plans that are off-track?
By knowing if your plans are off-track, you can easily make adjustments to get back on the right path toward achieving objectives before getting blindsided.
The key to reaching the next level of success is thinking strategically, planning the path forward, and actually doing the work – right. If you think about your strategic execution – not just what your goals are, but also how to get there – you will bust right through that ceiling and continue forward with momentum.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Patrick Thean is the co-founder and CEO of Rhythm Systems, a provider of a complete, cloud-based strategy execution software platform that facilitates airtight execution and measurability for mid-market CEOs. A serial entrepreneur and bestselling author, Patrick is a thought leader in strategic business execution. In April 2014, Patrick’s book, Rhythm: How To Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth, reached a No. 3 rating on Amazon’s Kindle best seller list and No. 35 on hardcover. Connect with @rhythmsystems on Twitter.