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6 More Questions CEOs Should Be Asking to Fuel Business Growth

I had some interesting responses to my recent blog 5 Questions CEO’s Should Ask on Executive Street.  The most interesting feedback was from a colleague who shared this quote from Edwards Deming:

“ It is not necessary to change.

Survival is not mandatory.”

6 More Questions CEOs Should Be Asking to Fuel Business GrowthMost of the feedback was confirmation that as business leaders we tend to spend our time focused on discussing the here and now, rather than considering if we have a business growth strategy to help define where we are headed.  This feedback echoes with the Vistage question “Are you working on your business, or in your business?

Here are 6 more questions based upon Art Saxby’s Identifying Strategic Growth Opportunities discussion guide that I think you will find transformative in considering your market positioning if included in your next staff meeting or management retreat.

  1. Why do our customers choose to do business with us? Does each member of your management team answer this question the same way?  If not, what does this suggest?
  2. How do we differ from _______ (top three competitors) in delivering our products (or services)? Are we recognized for it?  If not, do we have opportunities for price expansion or are we adding costs that are not translating into revenue?
  3. Which of our current products or services are most aligned to market and customer requirements?  How did this happen? Is it a repeatable process? If yes, are we doing enough of it or should we shift some investment from less productive areas?
  4. How has the selling process changed for our sales teams and channels? Have we modified our sales support strategy to keep up? The sales process is being transformed by empowered buyers, has your sales process adapted?
  5. How might a licensing, private label or OEM approach be beneficial to our business?  These avenues present great opportunities to grow your business without significant increases in capital investment or operating expense.
  6. How accountable (scale of 1-10) are our promotional investments? Do we know what works and what doesn’t? Are we continually trying new methods? In the Internet era, marketing is both more measurable and more enabled for rapid testing of concepts.

Based upon your business leaders’ discussion of these questions, do you conclude that your firm has a business growth strategy that will enable you to achieve your desired market position?

With the right growth strategy, it becomes all about strategy implementation.  Without the right strategy, business growth will be a challenge.

Have you found other questions to be effective in provoking a discussion that has lead to a shift from operational excellence to an effective growth strategy?

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  1. Scott

    November 4, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I think before these 6 questions we should ask:

    “are we aware of the journey our buyers go on and is our sales process aligned to that journey?”

  2. Richard Browne

    Richard Browne

    November 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Scott – that is a great question to add to the list. A good reference for this is “Staple Yourself to an Order”, an article from HBR about 10 years ago that highlights the need for the C-Suite to understand how customers see things inside their shop.


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