If revenues and profits remain relatively flat over several years, a business may very well have reached a plateau. If so, a new business strategy and operations plan are most likely needed to shift the company back into high gear, especially with the US economy in a nosedive that could shrink traditional markets for Canadian products.
A technology company that Atticus helped faced this problem. The plateau worried the company’s CEO, and he was determined to find out what was holding things back and why revenue was stagnant. How the company responded offers a case study in moving beyond the plateau.
Taking A Test
As a first step, the president completed the Business Optimization Check at our website. The results identified two major problem areas: its marketing and sales approach, and the operational processes that supported it. But to change these, the president also discovered that he needed to clarify the company’s vision and change his own leadership style.
To clarify the company’s vision, the CEO participated in a strategic planning workshop. The company’s value proposition was spelled out, and financial and marketing goals were set for the next three years. These goals included a target of $150,000 in monthly revenue within 12 months. Moreover, a marketing and workflow audit revealed that 10–15% growth could be achieved easily by improving the company’s internal operations. .
Five key initiatives to improve internal operations were identified in the workshop.
- Develop a more rigorous approach to lead generation, conversion, and retention.
- Overcome the production bottleneck.
- Define an effective organizational structure and best practices for each role.
- Establish performance measurements for each role, and training programs to support staff in reaching targets.
- Establish a program to improve internal communications.
Over the next three months, significant changes were implemented in lead generation, lead conversion, training and communications, as well as in the president’s own leadership style.
Within six months, growth was exceeding even the most optimistic expectations. As a result of optimization efforts, monthly revenue rose to $120,000 with just two additional sales people.
The company’s CEO recognized that shifting his own leadership style was crucial. He notes that, “The team, overall, is far more engaged. People have gotten into the habit of thinking for themselves and seeing opportunities rather than waiting for me to give direction.”
For a long time, he felt as if the company had hit a concrete ceiling. Now, the business has broken through it. When asked what advice he had for other business owners in a similar position, he replied, “Get help. Have someone [in] who can help you objectively, [who can] look at what’s going on and who can challenge your beliefs and actions.”
By Steven Parker