Top Trends For Organic Business Growth In 2018
First appeared as a Forbes Coaches Council article on January 2, 2018.
When you look at the trends for organic business growth, it all comes down to employee engagement and customer experience. While practically every business has pledged to work on these areas over the past 10 years, the difference in 2018 is that people are actually putting serious money behind it.
In fact, in a recent survey my company did, we asked over 50 CEOs what their top goals were for organic growth in 2018. Ninety-five percent said that employee engagement was their top priority, with customer experience being the second most common goal.
Why is this important to you? Because if you aren’t making these things a priority, know that your competitors are, and you will see this reflected their employee productivity, sales and overall ROI.
Here are the top five ways to focus on organic growth in 2018.
- Engage everyone from the C-suite to frontline new hires in attaining your business goals.
Be sure all your employees understand your organization’s top goals for 2018 and the next five years. You’d be shocked at how many people get trapped in doing day-to-day tasks that undermine progress toward long-term strategic goals of the company.
Then, be sure your employees know how to make decisions based on those core goals. Too often, I see organizations where every problem or idea becomes a fire drill. This kills time and money because people get bogged down in emergency scramble activities when they should be innovating and making progress on major organizational goals.
If your team functions is always in a fire drill, consider implementing a cultural shift to develop clarity throughout the organization regarding what the top priorities are for short- and long-term success and how to make decisions when confronted with new requests, so everyone from top to bottom can be focused on what matters most for growth.
- Clarify, automate and streamline for strategic success.
Teams and employees function at their best when everyone knows who is doing what and that time isn’t wasted. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve visited different clients only to see that people don’t truly understand each other’s jobs. It results in missing huge opportunities to streamline work and drive better customer experiences.
You may think you have good job descriptions, but when the rubber meets the road, do people really understand the best way to work together? Create opportunities to get away from day-to-day work and map out who does what and when. Then look for ways to automate work, streamline processes and leverage each person’s strengths. The more you automate and streamline, the more your employees can use their time to be innovative, strategic and ultimately grow your company.
- Give your employees experiences, not things.
Millennials have raised awareness of what most employees of all generations desire: intangible experiences. This might include face-time with the CEO, team activities, supporting local charities, or being included in unique problem-solving opportunities.
Grayson Lafrenz, CEO and co-founder of Power Digital Marketing, call his employees “the most important factor to our success in 2018,” and next year will roll out a program that pairs team members together and challenges them to learn from one another to develop new processes and initiatives for the company. This will also be paired with a monthly soapbox series where guest speakers educate the team on something outside their job (i.e., investing, taxes, real estate dos and don’t, etc.) and frequent lunch and learns, where team members can share their area-specific expertise for the whole team to learn in a different way.
It’s a great move, as in my 20-plus years of experience, I have found that when employees feel appreciated, they are exponentially more engaged with their jobs and supporting overall business growth. If you invest in your employees’ development, they will invest their time, energy and brainpower in your business. [Tips on how to make employees happy.]
- Don’t just get artificial intelligence – optimize the way you leverage it!
In a recent study by BCG and MIT, “84% of respondents believe “AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage,” and 83% believe AI is a “strategic priority for businesses today.”
Lars Helgeson, CEO of CRM company GreenRope, says it best: “A company focusing on data and information will significantly enhance its customer experience, as well as employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. Organizations are pumping dollars into data-mining programs and each are racing to interpret this data to give them the best understanding of their customer so that they can, in turn, create personalized experiences for the customer.”
Mauricio Umansky, CEO of real estate brokerage The Agency, has been gathering data about customer psychographics and demographics “so that we can understand trends in the market and what kind of customer data we should be acquiring in the future.” For them, “2018 is about starting to use the data,” and being “willing to take a lot of risk and make a lot of mistakes to achieve greatness.”
While stats show that everyone is excited about AI and gathering data, the focus should not only be only on how you get it, but on how you make it useful. Part of that is enabling employees to think strategically and know what to do with data. According to Forrester’s 2018 AI predictions, “Firm
s will remake traditional data and analytic roles to activate insights: Two-thirds of firms will create customer insight centers of excellence, and data engineers will become the new hot job title in 2018.”
- Realize that a goal without a plan is meaningless.
Your goals for 2018 may contain some of the concepts listed above and additional ideas, but at the end of the day, if you start off your year with business-as-usual activities, your growth will be limited. Get your employees to step away from their desks, select the concepts that will help your company grow most, and make a plan around how to do it.
The best way to do this is with workshops that enable your team to think out of the box. Determine who will sponsor and act on each of the year’s goals. Select the best participants for the workshop, manage the agenda, and get everyone to stay focused on exponential growth. Have a prioritized list of goals, strategies for the top growth initiatives and roles/responsibilities for whowill lead their implementation so your organization will thrive in 2018!
If you want to achieve the highest amount of success for your 2018 goals, contact us set up a time to plan your growth strategy and optimize your success for this year and the years to come.