Growth! Growth! Growth!
Everyone is obsessed with growth nowadays. I remember when “growth” was just good old-fashioned sales, but just like mobile homes are being re-branded tiny homes (even if it’s beautifully modern and designed, it’s still a house on a trailer that moves – of course in this area buying a 165 sq ft. home for $45000 is a pure luxury) and user-centered design rebranded as “design thinking” I thought maybe that I’d get with the program as well. We help you grow through innovation.
What I love about the term “growth” is that everyone can easily and simply buy into it. Because it really is everyone’s job to grow one’s company today. It used to be siloed in one department or another (oh, that’s the job of the sales department, or the marketing department or the advertising department). But that’s no longer the case.
We All Grow
Growth is everyone’s business. In good times and bad, growth is always good, and everyone’s responsibility. Whether you are in sales, marketing, tech or in customer service, you are all growth hackers. Growth touches everyone because everybody wants their company to do better. What does that mean, exactly? You want to grow the revenues of your company. How do you want to grow revenues of your company? Each in their own way: it’s more direct with sales and marketing, but everyone can grow the business in their interaction with customers and prospects.
Now when it comes to innovation, a lot of companies feel that innovation is simply a nice to have. It doesn’t really contribute to growth because you’re talking about doing things that are so far out that we don’t even know if they’re going to contribute to growth. When the times are good they’ll go “sure, let’s ‘splurge’ on innovation, let’s spend a few bucks coming up with new products, new business models, and new services to provide our customers”. But when times are tough. They go “oh man, we have to buckle down and grow. We really got to work on growth. This innovation thing, do we really need it? Isn’t it just a nice to have?.”
Biggest mistake you will ever make.
The fact the matter is that when times are tough, that’s when innovation is needed most. If you really want to grow your company, you innovate. You grow through innovation, not by shutting down innovation. In fact, you double down on innovation.
When You Innovate, You Grow
You keep hearing “Innovate or die” The corollary is also true: when you innovate, you grow.
If you want to see a near-perfect, current example of a company that needs to innovate to grow, look no further than Yahoo! Yahoo! was one of the first great internet companies, it invented AdWords for god sakes. I worked there myself for 5 years, running their innovation and patent programs, so I know there are a ton of innovators there. Today, its credibility is steadily eroding because it seems unable to innovate like its competitor, Google. In fact, many of the products that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are coming out with today first originated in the minds of Yahoos. And if you ask me I’ll bet there are still plenty of innovators with great new ideas there. But do we ever see them?
I wait for the day when the press says “Yahoo’s Back” but they will only come back if they unleash the innovation within. When people see real new, innovative products coming out of there, only then will things turn around. All of this accounting jiu-jitsu can only cut costs, but it can never help you grow.
How do you grow through innovation?
You have to tap your employees; you have to tap your brain trust. Your employees are your greatest asset. You know they say You’re only using forty percent your brain or twenty percent your brain. You’re probably only using about twenty percent of your corporate brain – you’re not using the other eighty percent because you’re not asking them to innovate on your behalf. You’re not asking them to tell you how you can grow through innovation.
All of these startups who are growing like wildfire, that’s growth through innovation. They started with a small germ of an idea and look at them now: Snapchat, Uber. The next great innovation for your company is probably sitting in the mind of one of your employees right now, untapped.
The CFOs Are Sharpening Their Pencils
If you’re looking at what’s happening in the world economically, stocks are taking a beating. Some people are saying “It’s 2008, all over again” There are accountants and CFO’s everywhere sharpening pencils, looking to cut. That’s exactly the wrong approach. The right approach is to make that investment in crowdsourced innovation right now. Make that investment in your employees. Get your employees to help you grow through this period. All you really need to do is tap them.
And you too can grow through innovation.