CEO Coaching: How to Grow Revenue

Many years ago, I went to dinner in New York City with five colleagues. We found a small Italian restaurant on a quiet street. After we sat down, they poured us water but offered no menus. A few minutes later, the owner came out and said, “What would you like for dinner?” (He served mostly local, repeat diners.) Interestingly, it was hard to order without a menu. Too many options. After we stumbled through what we wanted, someone asked if he had a wine list. “No. You want red or you want white?” he said.

We make things too hard .… You can’t boil the ocean every day at work; you need to narrow your choices. That’s why we establish planning processes. That’s why strategic thinking is so hard. Without a process to narrow the options appropriately, you won’t get anywhere. “What should we do?” isn’t strategic thinking. 

I’ve seen business leaders equivocate, sometimes for years, about what they should do to grow. They don’t have a menu (they also usually don’t have a strategy or vision).

Although people often use acquisitions as a method of entering new markets or buying capability, purchasing another company just to grow is often expensive and disruptive. That leaves organic growth (ahh, a conscious choice!). But still, exactly what path do you take?

If you’re in that situation, here’s a defined list for developing more organic growth:

      • Penetration (new customers in your existing market)
      • Increased retention of current customers
      • New products
      • New markets
      • Increased pricing
      • Alliances
      • New sales channels
      • Redefining your addressable market
      • Higher usage per customer

Pick one or two that align with your skills and assets and make a plan! Stop equivocating — leadership means making choices!

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