Is There Something in the Water? How Companies Can Grow Even in Down Markets

If there was some magical top-secret recipe for business growth, how much would you pay to get your hands on it?  We’re not talking “staying afloat.”  Not, “getting by.”  We’re talking real, tangible growth, the kind that regardless of the economic climate, your company will still be seeing green.  The bad news?  I hate to disappoint, but there is no magical recipe that works for every company, so you can put your checkbooks away.  The good news is that there are several general tips that with some tweaking for your individual business can truly poise you for continuous and steady success, and can help you weather even the most violent economic storms.
And we know all about navigating a tough economy.  At Medix, we are in an excessively “sunny” mood today despite the cloudy weather, since the results of the annual Crain’s Chicago Business list of the “50 Fastest Growing Companies in the Chicagoland Area” came out this morning, and drum roll…. Medix has earned the 20th spot on the list!  (Click here to check it out yourself! http://tinyurl.com/62f8psq) We have set the expectation at our company that no matter what is going on “outside,” there are several things you can do for your business to set it up for optimum growth. 
Below are some tips from Verne Harnish in a CNN Money article.  Our company has worked with Verne on several different business points, and we truly embrace his advice.  This article has some amazing tips that will ensure you are SEEING GREEN for quarters, years, and decades to come!
1. Get an edge
Find an underlying advantage of 10 to 30 times over the competition to dominate your industry. Barrett Ersek, founder of Philadelphia-based Happy Lawn, innovated a way to close sales in minutes instead of weeks using a proprietary mapping and price-quoting process.
How to figure this out? Look at your industry’s biggest cost and time constraints and challenge the conventional thinking in those areas of the business.
2. Own a phrase
Brand is about owning a word or two in the minds of your market. No confusion about what niche Trench Safety & Supply Inc. owns. J. Darius Bikoff, founder of Energy Brands, coined “enhanced waters” as a new multibillion-dollar beverage category. Chris Krause is focused on “athletic scholarships” for high school athletes.
And how do you know if you own the phrase? Google it and see if your company shows up.
3. Hyperfocus
Align the entire company around a single measurable priority each quarter. Not 75, not five, but one overarching focus for the next 90 days that removes a significant bottleneck in the business.
One company needed to hire 16 specialists; another focused on doubling inventory turns; a third concentrated on its Google ranking. What about yours?
4. Control your cash
Growth sucks cash, so construct a business model that fuels your growth without the need of outside capital. Gift cards, advanced payments, tighter billing practices, and shorter sales and delivery cycles are a few of many strategies. And to stay focused, look at your cash position daily. You’ll sleep better knowing the business can fund its own growth.
5. Write!

Flood the digital market space with blogs, white papers, YouTube videos, and Twitter messages that align with the phrase you own.  Then enhance your authority by writing a book like Chris Krause’s Athletes Wanted.

Published content is king in driving education-based marketing programs and in establishing you and your company as the authorities in your industry.
6. Pulse faster
If you want to move faster, pulse faster. The executive teams of the fastest-moving companies huddle daily, as if in constant crisis mode — driving on priorities, metrics, and data gathered from the market.
Billionaires like T. Boone Pickens formally meet twice a day with their teams. And successful executive teams gather once a week vs. annually to get some talk time around the six strategies I’ve outlined for growing the business. It’s about having a bias for action.

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