What does it take to grow a company in today’s business environment? I observe the business world these days and it seems there are plenty of opportunities for rapid growth, but there doesn’t seem to be as much staying power for an individual company. An idea or product can quickly catch on, but after a time, sometimes a short time, the company is struggling to maintain their status in the industry.
Companies have to almost reinvent themselves in order to continue to thrive. Consider as examples companies such as Dell, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Southwest. I have recently observed or read of each of these companies considering new products and new strategies to keep and attract new customers and maintain growth.
With the rapid speed of change and the less loyal consumer it seems harder than ever to make a new idea stick and to build lasting growth and success; yet I don’t believe we are finished with long-term, sustainable growth of individual companies within in our economy. I think we will see the companies mentioned above continue to find ways to make that happen.
I believe companies must still begin with a central vision, product or idea that has lasting value. Without that there is no guiding principle to keep the organization on track. After that, here are some thoughts:
1. Companies have to find ways to quickly figure out what clicks with people. The pulse of people is changing faster than ever. We must get better at discovering pulse indicators of consumer wants and needs.
2. Companies must adapt as needed to the changing culture with new products, new strategies and even new customers… and they must do so quicker than ever before.
3. Companies must create cultures of growth in the people within the organization. Employees must be freed to dream, plan, implement and achieve their own sense of success within the company in which they work.
4. As we’ve always believed, but more than ever, companies must be willing to risk big and follow their guts at times. The companies who wait too long to act are cut out in this environment.
5. Companies must rely on more than advertising or slick brochures and catalogs to grow. While this may still be a necessary component, the word-of-mouth consumer spread must be continually energized. Momentum must be continually energized at the consumer level.
6. Companies must consider a broader consumer base. The world is a much bigger place than most companies market to and finding ways to market those who aren’t in the current mix of customers is critical.
Those are just my thoughts. I’m an observer and I read a lot. Why would a pastor care about such things? Frankly, some days I miss the business world and so thinking about it keeps me connected. Plus, much of my ministry is to people who live in this world every day, so keeping up with it makes me a better minister to them.
Do I think these principles work for churches as well? Let me just say this. Some of the sharpest minds I know are in the corporate world. Why shouldn’t we learn from them?