CEO’s are about the thrill of the deal, achieving something no other person has, the adventure, the vision! Terms like survival, and cost cutting are something they’re willing to tolerate, but only as a means to the next opportunity to dream again. Even though the business landscape hasn’t changed much in the past few years, the attitude of the CEO has. We are tired of surviving, and ready to grow again! Even more, we refuse to live in survival mode.
So, what’s next? The answer is simple: GROW. It seems like such an obvious solution, why didn’t we think of it years ago?
I think it’s because we weren’t hungry enough! Cutting costs was easier than returning to the practices that once grew our empires in the first place. But now the fun is gone, work has become exactly that…WORK! So, the decision has been made; the dreaming has started again and this is where we go from here.
4 Ways to Stop Cutting & Start Growing:
1st: Start dreaming again. Get away, go for a drive, sit down with a notepad or whatever it is you once did to dream. Don’t be afraid, don’t get caught up in the “what if” and “how will we pay for that” roadblocks. Let’s be honest, you never counted cost the first time you wrote a vision, why start now? One tip: dream bigger this time. You’re older, farther down your path, with more capacity.
2nd: Make the commitment. Not just to yourself, make it known. Tell your staff, family, colleagues and friends. Accountability is a mighty force and letting others know your plan not only gets others helping push the boulder up the mountain, but it makes giving up more difficult. Once your name is on the line and your direct reports are coming back with status updates, your team is involved; it becomes real.
3rd: Get back to the basics. I know it was fun for a while when we didn’t have to work to get new clients, when the only thing needed for growth was an open sign, but now it’s time to get back to the basics. Ask yourself, “What was it that made me successful in the first place?” “What crazy forms of gorilla marketing did I implement?” “What associations was I apart of?” And, the painful one…“How many cold calls was I or my staff making?” It’s important that we realize while the world around us has changed into a social hotspot, traditional marketing and relationship building are still the most effective ways to gain long-term clients and partnerships.
4th: Every decision should point towards growth. I’ve watched many CEO’s over the last five years point every decision towards survival, not towards growth. If I asked what they would do if a few hundred thousand dollars dropped in their lap, most would talk about growing their business and expansion, but that isn’t what happens when those opportunities arrive. In the last 10 years we’ve gotten companies around $300M in Specialized Tax Incentives, and I have watched time after time a company receive this money and immediately start plugging holes; going into survival mode. They are dedicating hundreds of thousands of dollars towards keeping the status quo. The answer is so simple; if we are committed to growth, we have to turn every decision towards that plan. Recently I’ve seen a shift in mindset. No longer are CEO’s willing to survive just keeping afloat. They’ve dropped the bucket, stopped bailing water, and decided the real solution is to build a bigger boat.