Go For Growth: how can businesses take action to navigate crisis
The Covid-19 outbreak poses an unprecedented challenge to businesses. The way most companies, families, and communities operate today is not the same as it used to be a month ago. A great portion of our community’s safety depends on our ability to simply stay put and work from home — at least for those of us who are not healthcare workers. But for businesses, this is far from being a time for wait-and-see. To survive and thrive action is paramount.
Action plans include emergency reviews of investment, preparation for a decline in core revenue streams and hand brakes implemented in multiple spending lines. What action plans should also include swiftly is a Growth Methodology approach. This is more than an offense play. It’s a cultural change capable of transforming and preparing companies for the post-crisis world. A world the ones that go for growth now will envision and create themselves.
What it means to Go For Growth
In the process of slowing the spread of Coronavirus, many industries are put at risk, with travel, transportation, event, and mining predicted to take the highest hits. Not to mention small businesses whose average hold 27 cash buffer days in reserve. It’s clear this crisis will change the world permanently and the impact already feels very real.
But this storm will pass. And it’s proven by many companies and projects that emerged in the midst of past crisis that this now is not the time to hear and believe dismay above ingenuity. Business and projects that started and thrived during uncertain times include:
- IBM, which was founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company during a prolonged economic slump. Later in 1924 Thomas Watson took over the company and renamed it the International Business Machines.
- Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 during a stagflation period in the US.
- iPod, the product responsible for Apple’s comeback was launched in 2001, right after the burst of the dot-com bubble.
- Dropbox, which introduced its new technology for cloud storage in the middle of a global financial crisis in 2008 and quickly expanded with a viral loop program.
Going for growth means establishing a process for experimentation to identify opportunities to move the business towards its envisioned trajectory, which can include finding revenue opportunities and optimizing for customer experiments and loyalty in these uncertain times. Going for growth means:
- Having a data-driven approach to finding opportunities hidden within your own product, business, and market.
- Starting small, with one meeting and a couple of experiments, but ultimately creating broad cultural change for the organization.
- Breaking silos. It means establishing a process that involves the majority of the team. Growth ideas coming from the product, customer support, sales or the finance teams can be equally disruptive. And C-Level involvement is key in prioritizing growth.
- Being fast. Optimizing for a number of experiments that can be run in days or within a week or two is essential to find new revenue streams, channels, products and ways to grow right now.
- Learning, above all else. Every experiment either successful or not should bring the light of data where before only a question existed. Also, as you learn quickly by testing and experimenting, you avoid wasting resources in projects that are not yet proven.
How to Go For Growth Right Now
Many companies are being pushed by the current adversities to innovate with their product, channels, and operations. I’ve recently heard of a mid-size startup that was about to downsize. Instead, the founders invited the team to create a new product that could quickly help their community and generate enough revenue to maintain as many jobs as possible. In one week they came up with an MVP for a delivery alternative that promises to benefit local restaurants and small businesses impacted by the social distancing measures.
Another interesting idea came from a beauty service app that saw a wave of cancellations within the first few days of the COVID-19 outbreak news. The team quickly planned and started running an experiment on selling discounted coupons customers can redeem in up to two years. The hypothesis is that it won’t only prevent new cancelations, but it will actually bring referrals and more revenue.
If your company is already going for growth, make sure to share your story here on this form (less than 2min to fill). I will update this article daily including the names of companies going for growth and the examples of experiments they want to share.
If you’re not yet going for growth, here are 100+ ideas your team can use to get inspired and kick-off your first growth meeting. Make sure to follow the step by step of the Growth Methodology.
1. Set a goal and invite the team to share ideas
What do you want to accomplish? It can go from increasing customer acquisition to decreasing churn or adding revenue. The ideas suggested for testing should be aligned with the same objective. Ideally, this is done prior to the growth meeting.
2. Prioritize the ideas
This can be done during the growth meeting when the team will pitch their ideas. You can prioritize them according to the goal itself, how impactful they seem, how much effort it will take to test and how confident the team is that this experiment will actually bring results.
Put the experiments in practice. Ideally, this will take as little resources and time as possible to collect enough data that can be analyzed to come up with a conclusion: will the idea work or not?
As the results come you can decide to roll out the idea or not. Even an experiment that doesn’t work is a good one. At least you collected important data and avoided spending in a line or project that would be proven a waste of time after months — as companies that don’t have an established growth process often do.
After analyzing the idea, you roll out successful experiments company-wise and go back to step 1, to new experiments.
If this is the first time you’re reading about Going for Growth or the Growth Methodology, the State of Growth study is a good resource to learn more about the practices of the best performing growth teams in the world.
I hope you’re taking care of yourself, prioritizing the health of your team members, family, and community. Stay connected to your team, customers, the people you love… and go for growth!
Go For Growth: how can businesses take action to navigate crisis was originally published in Growth Hackers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.