Growth is good. We all want it. But before your team starts chanting “Growth or Die!” at the next planning meeting, take a step back and recognize that growth is a two-headed dragon. Just like Yin and Yang needs to stay in balance to thwart chaos, growth has two components that need to stay in balance to avoid chaos in your business. So many companies get stuck thinking only of revenue or external growth but in order to truly grow, without subjecting your firm to chaos, you need to have done all of the internal growth or foundational work so that you are poised for revenue growth.
I am a gardening enthusiast. I just love getting my hands dirty, planting perennials, and putting in the care and attention to see my garden thrive. I also know that the garden of my dreams (or garden that I want) takes time. There is a metaphor in gardening that seems very applicable to business growth – Sleep, Creep, and Leap – especially when talking about perennials, flowers that come back year after year. With perennials, expect a three year process to get the results you want. In the first year after planting, you don’t see much growth.
But while it doesn’t look like a lot is happening above ground, a lot is happening underground. All of the growth is occurring in the root system which prepares the plant to thrive in the years to come. In the second year you may see some additional growth but still not a lot. It may be frustrating but don’t despair the foundation or roots are getting stronger. Finally, in year three the flowers or plants blooms in all of their glory. The external or plant visible above ground is ready to thrive because the roots or foundation is strong. This is exactly the same with a business.
Businesses need to grow in much the same way. That is why the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is such a powerful model. The tools I use with my clients help a company with the internal growth so they have the strength and processes in place to handle accelerated external or revenue growth. In fact, the EOS model is built on a multi-year system to in effect help companies through the Sleep, Creep and Leap phases of growth.
Internal Growth – Building a Strong Foundation
A client of mine in the office products business recently told me that the EOS process has made his company a better place. He said his people are not just more productive, but also calmer as they work through the system. They have the balance needed to avoid the chaos that comes with growth.
External Growth – Reaping the Rewards
Another client in the digital marketing field told me that throughout the three year EOS system implementation journey, the company went from a group of smart people doing stuff for clients to a “real” business. The model helped them focus on both areas of growth – internal and external – so that the company was able to double their employee count, diversify revenues, and build a strong management team. Again, with minimal chaos. My client was thrilled that by using the tools and process of the EOS model, they were able to grow the business far beyond his expectations.
Finally, one last client made my day when he said that the insights that came out of our quarterly and annual offsite sessions has given their company the freedom to work on the business in a way that has transformed how they operate. He said internally they have grown, greatly reduced the fire drill atmosphere the company had pre-EOS. Externally they have grown 40% year-over-year. Success! I love it.
This isn’t to say that it is all smooth sailing. The process takes hard work, sometimes painful decisions, and a lot of patience to reap the results. Some of my clients have a hard time with certain tools in the model. But that’s ok. I help them through it. Just like the gardening metaphor, you need to put in the time, attention, and care the flowers need to thrive. But by staying the course, focusing on tried and true business practices, and having a guide to hold them accountable to achieving their goals, my clients now feel like they have the business they want.
In closing, your business needs to grow or die. How you grow may differ – growth does come in many flavors and strategies. However, don’t put unnecessary stress on your organization or doom your initiatives to failure by not focusing on both internal and external growth.
Intrigued by how the EOS model could help your business grow? Give me a call at 630-728-4177 to start the conversation. I’m happy to answer any questions you have and get you started on the road to having the business you want.