Today we will talk about growing the hidden gem. That may be your entire business, some overlooked component of a larger entity, or a new way to think about a product or service in your arsenal. Usually doing this will require a fresh perspective, a change at the top of the organization. In cases where it is not the owner of the P&L, they must be open to change and willing to revisit core beliefs about the business. In other words, if the revitalization and rethinking necessary for growth is not coming from the top, it had better be a close lieutenant, with a supportive leader. Since that is the hardest case, where the leader does not change, we will consider how to drive growth in that circumstance.
Honestly, this approach to growth is no different, aside from the need to enlist the agreement and explicit support from the leader. The first order of business is to understand the environment, internally and externally. Figure out the values, beliefs and needs of the key constituencies, line employees, leaders, customer gatekeepers (if there are such people), any other intermediary customer and the ultimate customer. With your internal constituents, also seek out their thoughts on organizational strengths, weaknesses, and non-essentials. With all this, you can identify gaps in your product and service offering or even just misalignment in your messaging. You can also conceive of products, services and support that might not be expected or even wanted, but needed. In fact, that is one of your best avenues to growth, the unmet need, and a tremendous opportunity to stand apart from your competitors, too.
Done well you should also identify unnecessary processes or products (read costs) too. This could easily pay for whatever you might do on the growth side. Once you have a firm idea of the upside potential, sub-optimized, new or enhanced products or services, and non-essentials, you must pull together an execution plan – a path forward to fill the gaps, stop the non-essentials, and add where appropriate. Then you must create communication plan – both internally and externally – to gain consensus, momentum and support for change.
Now you have a solid foundation for growing your hidden gem. You have a clear understanding of just how everyone views your business, a good sense for the disconnects – whether that be product, process or communications, more than likely a way to pay for it all, a clear path forward for your operations and a well defined communication plan. Now go grow that business!