You might ask, "What do you mean a growth plan? I am just trying to survive!" To that I say: Your Business Is Either Growing or Shrinking
However, if you don't have a growth plan, your business is going to shrink. With a well thought out growth plan, you should be able to position yourself for a decade of superior performance, once this recession ends.
Now is the time to be on the offensive!
Look back through history. Aggressive companies took advantage of rough economic markets to gain competitive advantage. Well-run companies enjoyed watching their weaker sisters fade away. After the first few months, competition shrank as poorly run, under-capitalized competitors wound down their operations and closed their doors.
There is always demand for affordably superior service. Poorly run companies can't deliver that, can't keep their costs low enough to make money, and eventually go out of business.
Don't be one of them. Don't sit around waiting for that to happen to you. Take command. Now is not the time to pull back into your shell.
Remember all those things you choose not to do during the boom times (like prospecting and networking) because you didn't like to, or didn't have the time to, do them? You'd better learn to love them and put full effort into them. The same goes for every member of your team.
Time For A Growth Plan
Develop a short term growth plan for your company. Today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today.
Include your senior leadership team. Bring them in at the start. Ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes. If they can't think of ideas, maybe you need people who can figure out how to grow the company.
Your plan needs specific time lines and performance benchmarks. Your entire staff needs to be focused on the plan and passionate about carrying it out successfully.
Your growth plan should be centered around your competitive advantages. Do not diversify into services or pursue projects that you don't already have the skills for.
What are your core competencies?
Look at your core competencies and your competitive advantages. What do you offer that your major competitors don't offer? Why do you land the work you do? How can you provide high value with relatively low cost?
Once your plan is developed, share it with everyone in your company. Tell them what you are going to do and why. Explain where each of them fits in the plan. Explain each person's role.
Make sure everyone on your team steps up. Is everyone in your company doing everything they can to sell your services? Is everyone thinking about how to solve yours customers' problems? Are they working together, putting aside petty differences, and helping each other out?
Have a friend call in and pretend to be a lead. Have him note how the phone was answered . How the lead was handled. How your staff qualified him. How promptly and enthusiastically your staff addressed his inquiry.
Stack Your Team with Superstars
Don't be afraid to hire someone who is "over-qualified". Too many companies are. They believe the over-qualified employee will leave as soon as he finds something better. In most cases, this simply isn't true.
Good people often get a charge out of helping their company grow. Especially if they know something ($$$) is in it for them after the growth goals are achieved.
Which team members are part of the solution and which aren't? If they aren't part of the solution either train them or replace them. Keep your great people and let go of the average ones. Great talent is available. It's on the street. Go find it.
Let's Talk Sales
You can't grow without a strong sales team.
I have talked with several executives whose sales staffs tell them they are great at sales, but when I see what they are doing, they are nowhere near as good as they think. Not even close.