Tuesday, June 14, 2011

 

3 Keys to Business Success: Leads, Limits and Leverage

What if the secret to growing your business was just three simple things? Would that help you focus? Would that make it easier to prioritize your time, your resources, your next to-do?

I could argue that customer and sales growth boils down to three things: Leads, Limits and Leverage.

Leads
It's true that you can never have enough leads. But not every lead is equal. Most aren't qualified, and even fewer are ready to buy.

Still, you need to work every day to generate leads. Work your network, meet new people, widen the top of your funnel as much as possible. The top of your funnel doesn't have to be qualified. Prospective customer, partner, friend of partner, influencer of prospect - all of these individuals have a place at the top of your funnel.

The trick, then, is to segment your follow-up, qualification and next steps based on role, interest and urgency. That's a topic for a whole other book, let alone blog post. But suffice it to say, continued lead generation is the lifeblood of most successful businesses.

Limits
You have limited time, budget and resources. And, frankly, even if you have unlimited time and resources there are a bunch of good ideas that just aren't worth pursuing.

You need to constantly prioritize and triage. This includes measuring and testing new ideas, but also employing a healthy amount of discipline for how quickly you scale, how effectively you measure impact and ROI, and how well you balance often-competing priorities that, together, are required to scale your business.

Of course, as you triage opportunities, you'll discover there are many things that require limited resources but can scale significantly or indefinitely. Which leads to the third key to business success...

Leverage
What can you do once, that will continue to produce dividends? How scalable are components of your business, product, sales and marketing such that your required investment as results grow is non-linear and exponential?

This includes adding the appropriate systems & processes to your business once you identify the channels, efforts, offers and other execution that consistently drives results. It includes working with partners who can implement on your behalf. It includes having the right staff work on the right priorities at the right time, based on their abilities, skill level, pay level, etc.

Not everything provides scale and leverage, at least not up front. You don't want to design a test for scalability until you know it's going to work. But as you add to and improve the overall systems that, together, make up your business, each of them needs to combine high-production and high-leverageability.


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