I’ve always loved working with small and mid-sized companies. Not only are the people who run these some companies the most creative people in the world (probably because their survival/success depends upon it), they are in the position to most easily (and quickly) implement new ideas.
I’ve also learned that this very strength is also the Achilles heel to virtually every small, mid-sized enterprise (SME). As I’ve written here, here, and here, the key to a successful endeavor is focus and discipline. The focus needs to be on sticking to the few actions that actually make you money, the discipline comes in not being led astray by that next “great idea.”
“Great ideas” are probably the single, biggest reason that a SME loses momentum and never reaches it’s potential, or breaks through no man’s land. The reason is that too often “great ideas” are distractions from growth, rather than drivers of growth.
What’s the difference?
It’s the answer to a two very simple questions: “Does the idea/innovation/offering we are considering reinforce our existing ‘money making machine?’” Then, if the answer is “yes”: “How does the idea/innovation/offering reinforce our ‘money making machine?’”
What is a money making machine? It is the core effort that you do that creates revenue – it is that thing or things that makes your “cash register” ring. Oftentimes, your “money making machine” is the core commodity that you provide. Sometimes, it’s not. Here are some examples of companies, their positioning and their money-making machines:
|Company Type||Positioning/Promise||Money Making Machine|
|Printer||Significantly increase the response rate for major direct mail companies||The physical production of materials that get mailed from a company to consumers|
|Personal Trainer||Look Better Naked||The hour in which a client pays a trainer to work out|
|Distributor||Reduce the total costs associated with manufacturing||The purchase of core materials used by OEMs in the production/manufacturing process|
|Imagine Business Development||Cut Your Sales Cycle Time in Half||The on-going support of the implementation of a business’ “go-to-market” strategy|
In my next post, I’ll explain how knowing what your money making engine is simplifies decision-making and drives profitable growth.