We know that one of the great challenges faced by many organisations is the ability to move from the Start Up phase of the business and to embrace the challenges of successfully Scaling Up. There are significant hurdles to overcome, notably developing Leadership skills that can build a team of great leaders across the organisation; Having the ability to attract to talent to join the organisation and managing cash in away that can fuel growth.
Verne Harnish the author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up has been very focused at the workshops over the past few years on delivering a simple and yet compelling point.
What is the Number One reason why an organisation exists? Is the question that he poses from the stage to the audience of entrepreneurs and business leaders whose typical answers would be:
1. To Make a Profit
2. To make a difference in the World
3. To provide value through a product or a service
4. To create jobs
To which Verne would respond to each answer the word “Maybe” until he found the answer that he was looking for. Not that from a text book perspective any of the answers were wrong, but more so that he wanted the audience to dial in to the fact that unless you consistently focused into what is important to your customers and you have deep insights into the problems and challenges that they are facing. Your role is to find solutions to these challenges which in turn will:
“Make it Easy”
Make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Make it easy for your customers to overcome the challenges that they are facing in their business Make it Easy for your employees to do the jobs that you employee them for.
As humans this is often very difficult often our tendency is to find ways of complicating things and as the company grows introduce more and more bureaucracy into the business.
Steve Jobs put it very well when he talked about his mantra of focus and simplicity. “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But its worth it in the end, because when you get there you can move mountains”
In the video clip below Verne explains in more detail the importance of Making it Easy and cites the example of Amazon and how they obsess about the customer journey and the customer experience. Every week they work hard as a team to understand how they can make it slightly easier to buy from them, what barriers do they have to overcome to make the shopping experience Easier..
So if you are looking to Scale Up your organisation make sure that you are having regular conversations with your customer. Ensure that all the leaders in your company at least once per week are in front of your customers gaining a deeper understanding of their business and what will make it Easier for you to do business together. What should you Start Doing, Stop Doing and Keep Doing?
In Scaling Up, Verne advocates using the 4 Questions (4Q) to gain these insights:
1. How are you doing?
2. What’s going on in your industry / neighbourhood?
3. What do you hear about our competitors?
4. How are we doing?
The trick is to get them to first talk about their favourite subject : themselves ! What are their pain points? What are their priorities? What changes are taking place in the industry ? What can be learnt from our competitors , there maybe some elements to their service offer we can learn from. Then finally an opportunity to uncover how we can serve them better.
Then just as Amazon does on a weekly basis you know need to create an agenda item on the Weekly meeting where you will work hard as a team to uncover all the barriers to doing business with you and come up with innovations and ideas to help “Make it Easy” to do business with you.
Whichever competitor has the most market intelligence, and uses it, wins. The fastest growing companies of this century – Amazon, Facebook, Google, Booking.com and Netflix – have built business models predicated on being able to tap into more input from customers than anyone else.
Action Step: As a senior management team put time aside to discuss this. Sets a goal for the next 6 months to be out in the business meeting at least one client or potential client per week. Add the Customer Insights to your weekly meeting agenda. Take action to close the loop and put in place measures to “ Make it Easy ” for your customers to do business with you.
At Gazelles part of our purpose is to ” Make it Easier ” for organisations to successfully Scale Up. We fully understand how difficult it is. However with access to the finest mid market business education and the very best business tools that are practical and simple to use we believe that we can help you through your Scaling Up Journey.
For businesses in the UK we are launching the Scaling Up Executive program that has been designed to provide ambitious, growth minded organisations with the very best in thought leaders including Verne Harnish. Verne discusses the program in more detail in the Video below. You will also be able to find a link to our online brochure where you will find more information about the curriculum, the intended outcomes and how you can express an interest to join the program.