Businesses go through various growth cycles consisting of slow growth, moderate growth, high growth and in some cases decline. Each growth cycle has its own set of challenges. In slow growth, there may not be enough cashflow to reinvest in the business. In high-growth, customer service may suffer. It is critical to understand what growth cycle your company is currently in as well as be able to predict what cycle is around the corner. Without understanding these two things you may not achieve the level of growth you want.
So, what does it look like to predict where my company is heading – what is around the corner? It is easiest to think of predicting in two time horizons, longer-term and shorter-term. A longer-term horizon is anything 90-days or longer and is important in setting the direction for your company. A shorter-term horizon is what is happening in your business daily and weekly. Both are needed; our focus here is on the shorter-term.
In his research for his book Good-To-Great, Jim Collins, found “good to great companies displayed two distinctive forms of disciplined thought. The first is that they infused the entire process with brutal facts of reality. The second is that they developed a simple, yet deeply insightful, frame of reference for all decisions.”
In order to “face the brutal facts of reality” you need…”the brutal facts”…in other words the data that will show you how the business is trending. Monitoring key activities daily and weekly will provide the leading indicators needed to spot adverse trends in time to take action. At the risk of stating the obvious, key activities relative to predicting if you are on track to achieve your revenue growth are those things that have to happen in order for you to get and retain more customers and thus more revenue. Things like: new prospects in the pipeline, new warm leads in the pipeline, client/customer meetings scheduled, client/customer meetings completed, sales made but customer but not yet onboarded, referral source meetings, and there are likely others for your business. The link below provides a simple template for tracking the measures you choose for your business over a period of time.
With these facts in hand you are positioned to apply a “simple, yet deeply insightful, frame of reference for all decisions”. As the activity trends begin to shift more positively or negatively, treat that as an opportunity that needs to be explored or conversely, an issue that needs immediate resolution. As you resolve the issues that arise on a daily and weekly basis, you will see much better results because you are removing the barriers preventing you from achieving your goals. If you do not currently have a “simple, yet deeply insightful, frame of reference for all decisions”, there are many decision-making models you can adopt. Here is a link to one alternative from Gino Wickman’s work; it is a tool in the Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS Model™
Collins, J. (2001). Good To Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t… New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
Loraine Hardin has a passion for developing, leading and coaching teams to drive superior performance in their businesses. Through leading many teams of 5-1200 over the past 30+ years she has identified some common elements of developing and leading high-performing teams. The concepts are easy, the implementation and diligence as a leader to stick with it is the challenge. As the Founder of Hardin & Associates she is dedicated to teaching and coaching leadership teams the key elements for success and how to stick with it.
Her experiences at the Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Freedom Mortgage include:
- A key executive of senior leadership teams at all three companies;
- Leading strategic planning for both Principal and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage;
- Leading large operations team in mortgage lending and in health insurance;
- Performing market development in commercial real estate lending, acquisitions and asset management;
- Performing market development for a health plan;
- Leading product development for mortgage and health insurance products;
- Strategic partnership development;
- Integration of acquisitions.
Through all of the experiences she has become known for executive management, leading cross-functional teams, strong team building, strategic and business development, process improvement, change management and overall excellence in leadership. 2
Her community involvement includes:
- The Executive Committee of CultureALL, Cultural Programming
- The Board of The Young Women’s Resource Center
- The Board of National Association of Women Business Owners (Central Iowa)
- Past President, Foundation Board of Directors for Children and Families of Iowa
- Alumna, Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute
- United Way Executive Lead for Principal Campaign
- Chair, Go Red for Women Luncheon
Hardin holds a degree in Finance from the University of Iowa
In addition to her work, Loraine loves spending time with her kids and grandkids as well as bicycling, yoga, cooking and gardening.