The world’s simplest formula for breakthrough growth in any company

Every company I have ever had, or worked for, shared a common goal. Grow revenue faster than expenses. This results in an exponential increase in value to the owners, shareholders and extended stakeholders. There is only one way to achieve this kind of exponential growth. Want to get in on the secret? I’ll share.

First, identify the weakest, most under-performing parts of the business

Why start with the losers, instead of the winners? Easy. When you start low and build up, you have the biggest week over week, quarter over quarter or year over year impact. Just imagine the team, the division or the business unit that’s only flat, or worse, declining and achieving 10% of their potential. When they achieve 100% of their potential, you just got a 10x return. A moonshot, in the parlance of the Larry Page interview in Wired magazine. This goes beyond divisions which are directly tied to annual revenue goals, this method applies across the board, with every process. Don’t just look at the areas of the business where you can track, “Do x, get y,” look at the entire set of processes which your company has built up and question all of them. If your expense management system could use some gamification and achieve a 30% reduction in cost, DO IT.

Part two of this strategy is to measure your relative velocity and remove the stumbling blocks to speed

Previously, I shared a quote here that Steve Ballmer admitted, “It’s all about speed.” Nearly a decade ago (wow…) I was first exposed to the idea of website performance and the impact of making your site faster which tied directly to business results. Ask your team, “What process is moving the slowest?” Then tackle that process. It’s not about underperformance, it’s about overall average speed. The division that grows the most could be growing even faster, if their processes enabled them to do so. I blog using wordpress, each post takes less than a half hour. These are new, unique webpages. If your organization is stuck in the “pre-CMS” days, you’re not moving as fast as you could when publishing. John Battelle made it clear, every brand is now a media company which means we’re all in the publishing business. Ask the guys running TechCrunch how much speed to publishing matters in their category.

The other day, I had to explain a strategy to a well meaning colleague. They looked at me, confused, and asked me what I was trying to do. Unfortunately, I have never given up on the idea I had a decade ago with one of my businesses. I want to change the world, make it a better place. To do that, well, you need to think global and act local, right? If more people, if more companies, step it up and be their very best…we all win.