When I was a kid, there was a series of books I fell in love with: Choose Your Own Adventure. There were dozens of these books and they were perfect for nine-year-old me. The one I remember best was called “The Cave of Time.”
Here is the synopsis:
You are hiking in Snake Canyon when you find yourself lost in the strange, dimly lit Cave of Time. Gradually you can make out two passageways. One curves downward to the right; the other leads upward to the left. It occurs to you that the one leading down may go to the past and the one leading up may go to the future. Which way will you choose?
If you take the left branch, turn to page 20. If you take the right branch, turn to page 61. If you walk outside the cave, turn to page 21. Be careful! In the Cave of Time you might meet up with a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex, or be lured aboard an alien spaceship!
What happens next in the story? It all depends on the choices you make. How does the story end? Only you can find out! And the best part is that you can keep reading and rereading until you’ve had not one but many incredibly daring experiences!
Every book was the same thing. Whether you were on a mission to Mars or at the center of the earth, you could always plan on getting abducted by aliens or being eaten by a sasquatch.
As dumb as it sounds as an adult, it was awesome entertainment! Each book had 30 to 40 choices you had to make. Some were fight or flight scenarios:
The abominable snowman is approaching! Do you run or do you bury yourself in the snow?
Sometimes, the choice was around the resources you could use:
The great white shark is about to attack! Do you try to blind it with your underwater flashlight or do you stab it with your knife?
At the end of every chapter, you had to make a choice. Once you did, you turned to that page to see if you lived, were injured, or even died.
It was fantastic fun!
If you are seeking business growth, every day is its’ own Choose Your Own adventure.
Your customer is being unreasonable. Do you tell them off or do you smile and try to help?
Bob says he needs $5,000 to upgrade your software. Do you keep the old version or do you spend the money?
It’s always been about choices, but unlike the Choose Your Own Adventure books, you don’t get the benefit of not actually having to face the consequences. There are no do-overs.
Consider these questions:
- Do you understand the things which influence your business positively and negatively?
- Do you understand what you can change?
- Do you know what the outcome will be if you make the change?
- Will business growth happen immediately or gradually?
Every variable in your business is a lever. The choice then is whether to leave it alone, adjust it, or pull it.
Let’s focus on a few levers you should consider when discussing growth. Each has pros and cons, but all are potential options when exploring this question:
If you want business growth, what can you do?
The Levers You Pull in Business Growth
Expand the Market
Sell to those not normally on your prospect list. Instead of selling in a market that has 100 customers, you change your pitch to market the same product or service in five others markets that have 100 new customers.
Business growth requires a high degree of customization strategy. It requires you to look at what you sell and who is on your prospect list. Can it be sold to others? Should it be sold to others? What type of investment or effort would be required to create appeal in another market?
For small businesses, this is hard to do. That said, if it is the right strategy, it’s always the right thing to do.
Grow Volume with Existing Customers
The idea here is to sell more to the customers you already have. In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth Godin talks about maximizing sales in the customers you already own. In a commoditized industry, I have one suggestion:
Become the expert
Think about why this matters:
- Experts attract (and keep) attention.
- People want to buy from the expert.
- People want to work with the expert.
- No one cares what you think if you are not the expert.
We are committed to helping you achieve business growth and providing the products and services that can help you become the expert. When you are the expert, you have the ability and opportunity to recommend additional services and to direct outcomes. When you direct outcomes, you have shifted the focus away from price and directly to results. The only way to add services to your existing customers is by showing them the results that are possible should they use what you have proposed.
For example, consider performing a network assessment, which leverages VXSuite products to provide visibility on what is happening in a network environment over a period of time. This allows you to troubleshoot and make suggestions to determine the root cause of poor performance.
There are other examples, but know this: When you have the data, you are the expert. When you are the expert, you direct the outcome. When you direct the outcome, you win.
Reduce Customer Churn
Stop people from leaving. Easy, right?
This chart shows an extended-life view of a partner (I have modified some of the data, but kept the trends intact). To make it easy, blue lines in positive territory are gain, blue lines in negative territory are loss.
A few things jump out:
- Business growth comes easily in the early stages. Churn isn’t a problem.
- At the halfway point here, churn starts to creep in. Halfway through, it begins to explode.
- Over time, if not managed, customer churn will erode your business.
You need to retain your existing customers. You can do this yourself or you can work with our account management team and we can work with you to dedicate resources who can work for you.
Our account managers proactively call customers and keep and cultivate the relationships you began.
- We white label our services to appear as an extension of your business. We request a number with your area code and CID to make and receive calls. We use your email domain to send and receive messages.
- We send weekly and monthly reports to you. The weekly report shows how many customers we called and what change occurred in the back office. Monthly reports include an opportunity pipeline, jeopardy report, open tickets, and billing changes.
I mentioned retention in the last section. Now I want to talk about business growth.
When I say steal share, I am talking only about creating an offering that is distinct, differentiated, and attractive. If you offer the best value, you will win. We can help you establish that value.
Here are some helpful ideas:
- You can provide the value-add of circuit monitoring at no additional cost to you or your customer.
- You can use our resources (engineering and project management) to represent your organization.
- Our solution sales team offers expert help in designing, ordering, and closing Cloud-based sales.
All of these things are worth something. If you show that value, your offer will clearly stand out.
Our goal has always been to help you win. We want you to look great. Your regional vice presidents live and work near you and are always available to consult with you about business growth. Our team is happy to help in any way we can. The tools we build and the add-ons we offer are unique in the industry.
If you want to grow, we want to help! If you’d like to schedule a strategy call, please let your support manager know. We look forward to consulting with you.