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To Grow Faster Take the Simple Route to Expansion Where You Can Safely Travel Fastest

Jan 18, 2008
People usually overestimate their own abilities and potential. In so doing, they often make the mistake of creating a complicated solution to something that can be accomplished more simply. Go for the simple, fast, and easy instead. Rather than spend billions on its own lengthy and risky research and development, Procter & Gamble conducted hundreds of inexpensive online contests in a short period of time to find its solutions. The weaker your organization is, the more important this advice is.

Here are some ideas that may stimulate your thinking for finding simpler, faster, and safer ways to grow:

-Start helping beneficiaries and customers before any harm is done to them or any opportunities are missed.

-Stay in constant contact with customers and beneficiaries to be able to prepare them for situations before such circumstances arise.

-Create a simple communications routine that leaves no room for error.

-Make as much of the process "serve yourself" as possible.

-Systematically examine how to eliminate problems for beneficiaries and customers.

-Make implementation foolproof by providing warning signs and relevant instructions when the customer or beneficiary is off course.

To safely accelerate growth, start with your concept for an initially expanded role and a process for helping customers. Lay out the concept's operation one step at a time like the instructions for a model car kit you are building.

Insert the likely delays that will occur. Investigate how those steps and delays can be replaced with simpler and faster methods. Repeat the process.

Here's an example: A marketing consultant approached me many years ago about developing and implementing the marketing for some of our services. The idea intrigued me because we were very busy, and I didn't want to take the time to develop new marketing programs and carry them out. I readily agreed to work with the consultant. He made this agreement even easier by making his compensation contingent on his success.

We soon discovered that whatever the consultant knew about marketing, he didn't know much about how to gather and work with information. He began sending us endless lists of questions, spending long days reviewing our answers with us and rehashing the same ground.

Since he didn't understand the technical side of how we delivered our services, he began to feel like he couldn't work on marketing our offerings until he acquired that technical knowledge. Unfortunately, learning that much about the offerings was a formidable intellectual challenge that wasn't worth the effort for any of us.

This seemingly endless series of communications and meetings went on for months before I finally asked the man to stop. Otherwise, I might still be pursuing his process.

Since his perceived problem was that he wanted to understand the service delivery process, this information gathering effort could have been made faster by gathering client information about what they understood and thought about the process. Clients didn't really understand the process either . . . but that wasn't a concern to clients as long as they could use the results of the process and have confidence that they were on the right track.

The fact that I always checked out the recommendations through confidential interviews with investors provided the credibility that established the necessary client confidence. We could have easily arranged for the consultant to have spoken to a few clients, with or without us around, and he would soon have found out all he had to know.

Next, he could have surveyed a reasonable-size sample of those who needed and knew our services but who hadn't purchased those services to find out how these executives had decided not to purchase. Having discovered the gap between what the satisfied customers thought and understood and what the undeveloped prospects knew and understood, the marketing consultant could then have started to develop test programs to change understanding among the prospects. Following the results of a few successful tests, the consultant would then have begun to implement programs that improved our marketing effectiveness.

With such a process, the consultant could have been producing improved marketing for us in less elapsed time and by taking up less of our time. Why didn't he? It was clear that he was a Socratic learner; that is, he needed all of his questions answered by an expert before he could come to any decisions.

The consultant could not step back and redesign his own process to make it faster and better. As a result, we lost confidence that he could improve our marketing process or save us any time.

Here are some questions designed to help you perceive an even faster, more direct route for your beneficiaries and customers:

-What's the minimum information needed to act?

-Where and when is unnecessary information being developed?

-What is the minimum offering needed to provide most of the desired benefits?

-Which delays in the sales and offering delivery cycle can be eliminated? How?

-Where are mistakes being made that can be drastically reduced? How?

-What assumptions are being made that should be challenged?
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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