In Growth & Profit

As I drove to work this morning with the temperature at three degrees below zero and the wind chill at thirty below, I found myself a little bit amazed that we’re already a month into 2013.  That got me thinking:  with over 90% of the year left, what is this year going to look like?  What are the key issues that businesses are going to have to deal with?  Here are 3 issues I came up with.

First, PROFIT.  That sounds pretty obvious.  Profit is always something business leaders are thinking about.  What I’d suggest though is that businesses focus more specifically on waste removal as a key part of profit improvement.  Often when businesses want to be more profitable they focus on increasing sales.  But why try and push more sales through a broken system?  You’re going to work harder and harder for more sales, but the profit that comes out the other side is always going to be disappointing.  Why not first streamline how your business functions?  I’d suggest taking your business through a waste audit that evaluates every area of how your business operates.  When sales do grow, you’ll be much more satisfied with the result.

Second, INNOVATION.  Many businesses have spent the past several years in survival mode.  As the economy slowly improves, businesses have to start looking to the future.  What will our customers expect from us a year from now?  Two years?  What changes do we have to make to meet those expectations?  Innovation & change are the keys to success in today’s business world.  Not just product innovation (are we developing some kind of new product?), but process innovation (how are we producing our product? how are we marketing our product? how are we getting our product to our customers?)  Think about your business – who are your best innovators?  What are you doing to create an environment where their ability to innovate is being used to its fullest?

Third, PEOPLE.  More specifically, what are you doing to prepare leaders in your business?  Do you even know who those leaders are?  Most businesses are finding that one of the key barriers they face when wanting to grow is a lack of the right people.  When you identify high-performers in your business, what do you do with them?  Are you treating them just like everybody else?  You need to be coaching & developing those people so that they’re ready to handle whatever growth & opportunity comes in the future. 

What do you think?  Are those your issues?  If so, how are you going to handle them?  If not, what are the key issues you’ll be dealing with in 2013?


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