At Vistage, we have four strategic imperatives. Some or all of these may apply to many other companies.
Today, I’d like to discuss organic growth, the second of our strategic imperatives. That means continuing to grow through your own resources and capabilities and not through acquisitions or new businesses. So what is that about?
First, it’s about continuing to do what you’ve always done well, but to do it with the best people in even better ways. The challenge is defining the key drivers of your business and identifying where you excel. Then you focus on those actions where you can have the biggest impact and where you also have the most control– as opposed to spending a lot of time and resources on things where you have relatively less impact and less control.
Second, it’s about continuing to grow organically by reaching out to new customers, in new ways, and possibly with new products that are derived from your existing products. But you’re still engaging in organic growth because you’re still leveraging your core competencies; you’re not going too far afield.
For example, here at Vistage we’ve been doing what we do consistently well and very successfully for over 53 years. Basically, our core business has been: advisory-group and professional-coaching programs for small-medium-sized business executives, principally marketed and delivered through our Chairs (independent contractors). That, of course, will continue to be our business model because we’re exceptionally good at it and it’s distinctively valuable to our members.
But we’re also working on how we could also market what we do to larger companies. And how we could distribute our services not only through our Chairs, but also more directly. And how the service itself could be somewhat different; it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the current format for everyone (12 meetings per year, eight hours each time, and so forth). So, we’re varying the how, not the what, of our core value proposition.
In sum, I’m talking about two things: Continuing to do what you’ve always done but making sure you’re focusing on where you have the most impact and control; and secondly, trying to sell your core competencies to different people, in different ways and in different formats. Both should help to accelerate your organic growth.