Rapid Growth Readiness


Aligning Your Organization to Meet Your Revenue and Growth Goals

In the often-referenced business growth model presented by Churchill and Lewis in the Harvard Business Review decades ago, a company can expect to move from existence to survival and then on to success, take off and maturity.  Somewhere late in the survival stage when the company has proven that it can attain sustainable profits and has a market with an opportunity, the founders/leaders have key decisions to make. One option is to sustain a modest course, adapting only in small ways to market factors and thus remaining a small though moderately successful business. Alternatively, the founders/leaders can choose to invest in rapid growth.

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Unfortunately, however, the model often doesn’t play out as proposed. Everything looks on course for success but when investment arrives and the “pedal goes to the metal” the business regresses instead of progresses.

Typically, this challenge is based on two factors:

  • The company is struggling to move from the mindset of Existence and Survival to the mindset needed for Success, Take Off and Maturity
  • The systems and processes used to this point often are not the systems needed or have not been structured for scalable, rapid growth

First, let’s tackle mindset. If you’ve ever been part of a start-up or early-stage company, you no doubt are very familiar with the yeoman work that goes into success. There may be job titles and theoretic roles, but in reality, it’s all hands-on deck to push, pull, drag or force revenues through the door.  Thus, success likely came from something like this:

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Keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with this model. It works and works well for most organizations up until the tipping point where growth is rapid or rapid growth is needed.  At that point, the organization must move not only to systems of scale but a mindset of scale. That’s not always easy to do.

Before we jump into the how of managing mindset change, let’s look first at what focus is needed for rapid, scalable growth. Very simply it all begins and ends with revenue growth. As one VC group told the PMPathlights team, “If you have rapidly growing revenue, you can fix challenges for scaling operations and finance. If you don’t have the revenue growth, the others don’t matter anyway.”

For revenues to scale rapidly, strong systems are needed within the three revenue dependency areas that up to the point of investment likely grew through sheer determination and grit.

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Go-to-Market approaches must mature to consistent product strategy that is visible across the organization, the corporate connective tissue if you will that ensures intense focus and consistent messaging. This involves methodology and technology that not only focuses the organization but keeps messaging visible and concise.

Demand generation must move to predictable opportunity creation and pipeline development. It must be formulaic rather than chance based. This involves implementation or refinement of marketing automation and dynamic messaging to find, cultivate and qualify predictable pipelines.

Sales and Channel systems must now be systemic and not dependent on specific individuals. Proven close processes backed by formalized sales execution connected to a strong CRM system/structure is needed to bring predictable success across all opportunities.

The bottom line is that organizations that get the systems for these three revenue drivers right AND make them part of the new corporate mindset typically are rapid growth ready. However, getting even one of these – let alone all three – implemented is no small task.

This is where external help is needed.  As an example, a Rapid Growth Readiness sequence could unfold something like this:

Stage 1: Do it for Me:

Largely independent of those in the daily operations of the organization, the Rapid Growth Readiness guidance resource team completes an assessment of critical needs, develops a technology and culture development strategy and, post approval, implements a parallel structure to current process.

Stage 2: Do It With Me:

Once systems are in place, the RGR team works alongside company team members to methodically migrate from one system (the old mindset and way of operating) to the new system (designed for scale/rapid growth).

Stage 3: Do It Myself

In the final stage, the RGR team only remains as a resource for questions when team members need help. The goal, of course, is that little will be needed.

By following a phased transition, both the mindset and the systems needed for change to a rapid growth ready organization can happen in a structured approach that minimalizes the impact to daily operations and current revenue generation.

Not every organization faces the challenges of sliding backwards once funding arrives. But if yours is one that has, the faster you deal with rapid growth readiness, the better your odds of course correcting.  Better still, if your company is marching toward funding and expectations of scale, don’t wait for challenges to arise.  Get rapid growth ready now.

Stephen Tucker

Stephen Tucker is an innovative marketing professional who excels at building and revitalizing products, markets, brands and demand-generation systems. Email Stephen.