How does your business build an effective growth strategy? I recently picked up another copy of the book Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson. I thought I’d share what I got from the book and how you might apply it to your business growth efforts. Michael has a strong background in taking small businesses to the mid- market and beyond and several of his ideas might help you grow your business more quickly to the next level. This book should be on your bookshelf if you are trying to get your business started, your growth has stalled, or your looking for ideas to improve your business.
The first thing that stuck me was how spot on he was about getting ready. Many entrepreneurs spend so much of their time getting ready they fail to achieve the early results they need to keep to the business growing.
As the title Ready, Fire, Aim, suggests, getting ready is critical but there are many ways of getting ready. Michael suggests that in the early stages of your business you should focus on increasing your marketing effectiveness and also include getting very good at selling your ideas to others. He shares his thoughts on creating an optimum selling strategy that helps you get through the trials and challenges you face when starting your business. What makes Michael’s approach to startup interesting is he suggests that you have to change many things during the early stages of your business. Flexibility is the key during the early stage of your business development.
When Michael talks about firing, he shares his perspective that many entrepreneurs spend so much during the earlier stages; they may not have the resources available to be successful in the firing stage. He believes that to be effective at selling you must track the things you are doing so you have an accurate perception of reality. To do this you must create processes and systems for your business. He takes on the myth of small business which is you must have large inventories of products and services before you go to market. He also suggests using direct marketing to support your sales activities in the field. He sees direct marketing as a cost effective way of generating leads and interests in your new business.
Michael constantly challenges traditional thinking on how to grow your business faster. He highlights several points of leverage you can use to create faster breakthroughs in the selling your products and services. If you’ve done what he suggests in phase one, create sales and marketing systems for your business, you are more likely to be successful selling additional products and services to your clients. This growth strategy not only insures more sales but also increases your effectiveness in growing a more profitable business. This creates a great double win during the early stages of your business’s growth.
Now, to the other side of his growth strategy. Once he understands what his market wants, he is capable of finding partners and products that they will be interested in. He spends significant time identifying additional opportunities to grow a strong relationship with his best clients and partners.
He also develops a number of lower end priced products and services to generate better qualified leads and interests in his higher end products and services. As we talked earlier, he is always testing the outer limits on what he can charge for both lower and higher end products. He can do this because he is always reviewing his sales data to better understand what a customer is worth over the lifetime of their relationship with him. When he uncovers what the lifetime value of a customer is, he can decide how much he wants to invest to get the optimum value out of their relationship with him.
Michael covers many other great ideas in his book, more than I can cover here. The biggest challenge I have found in giving the book to my clients is that you must apply his ideas to your business. If you’re an individual who struggles to see the similarity between your business and his, you may not enjoy this book. If you have questions about how it might be applied to your business, drop me a line and we can talk.
If you’re looking to expand your view of the opportunities in your market you might enjoy Can Entrepreneurs Seize Global Opportunities like Sir John Templeton?
Next week, I begin to share what I learned about growing your business in Boston. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Michael Masterson’s book, Ready, Fire, Aim, and let’s see if we can help you take your business to the next level. See you then.