Growth Insights for CEOs

Let’s Talk Growth

Posted by The Chief Outsider

CEOs: Ask these 6 questions to effectively discuss and plan business growth strategies.

6 more questions CEOs should be asking now to fuel the strategic business growth discussion

I got some interesting responses to my recent blog “5 questions CEOs should ask” on Executive Street. The most interesting feedback was from a colleague who shared this quote from Edwards Deming:

“ It is not necessary to change.
Survival is not mandatory”

Most of the feedback was confirmation that as business leaders, we tend to spend our time focused on discussing the here and now, rather than considering if we have a business growth strategy to help define where we are headed. This feedback echoes with the Vistage question “Are you working on your business or in your business?”

Here are 6 more questions based upon Art Saxby’s Identifying Strategic Growth Opportunities discussion guide that I think you will find transformative in considering your market positioning if included in your next staff meeting or management retreat. 

  1. Why do our customers choose to do business with us? Does each member of your management team answer this question the same way? If not, what does this suggest?
  2. How do we differ from _______ (top three competitors) in delivering our products (or services)? Are we recognized for it?  If not, do we have opportunities for price expansion or are we adding costs that are not translating into revenue?
  3. Which of our current products or services are most aligned to market and customer requirements? How did this happen? Is it a repeatable process? If yes, are we doing enough of it or should we shift some investment from less productive areas?
  4. How has the selling process changed for our sales teams and channels? Have we modified our sales support strategy to keep up? The sales process is being transformed by empowered buyers, has your sales process adapted?
  5. How might a licensing, private label or OEM approach be beneficial to our business?  These avenues present great opportunities to grow your business without significant increases in capital investment or operating expense.
  6. How accountable (scale of 1-10) are our promotional investments? Do we know what works and what doesn’t? Are we continually trying new methods? In the Internet era, marketing is both more measurable and more enabled for rapid testing of concepts.

Based upon your business leaders discussion of these questions, do you conclude that your firm has a business growth strategy that will enable you to achieve your desired market position?  With the right growth strategy, it becomes all about strategy implementation. Without the right strategy, business growth will be a challenge.

Have you found other questions to be effective in provoking a discussion that has lead to a shift from operational excellence to an effective growth strategy. 

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