Focus, grow, succeed — Throw a top line party

By Robert Van Arlen

Senior Advisory Group

Eliminate the non-believers
When things get tight, the non-believers need to be weeded out quickly. There is no room for negativity if the top line is your focus.

Top line growth may require dynamic changes in how you address the market. The key to growing your top line is honesty.

Tough questions must be asked with the understanding that the outcome may open the door to new opportunities. Are we, as an organization, truly aligned with our customers? Do we know and understand our customers' strategic initiatives? Can we develop new market channels with our products, knowledge, technology or resources?

Have a top line party
Social gatherings in business are the norm, but a top line party is brainstorming on steroids. Several years ago, I learned the value of the top line party, as I invited all my sales directors to an after-hours meeting to discuss specific ways we might be able to grow the business. There was only one rule, and that was to review accounts and determine how much opportunity fuel we were leaving in the tank.

After completing this activity, we moved in the direction of what was stopping us from obtaining this business. The outcomes became priorities. Some were immediate and others were long-term, as they required changes in structure, technology and resources to capture and service the growth.

Overall, the top line party was successful and became a scheduled event.

Don't give up
You can never give up and throw in the towel, resorting to just a cutting philosophy. If you cut too much, you will eventually reach the core of your organization's competency.

Being profitable requires a delicate balance, as well as an ability to make strategic decisions that don't always turn out the way you've planned. The business world has evolved into such an advanced technological universe of its own, that many of us have forgotten basic principles, like client touch is first and foremost.

People make and break business, technology assists in the processes, and whatever you do, don't give up on marketing. Your marketing programs that support your sales efforts must be constant, multi-faceted and laser sharp.