June 3, 2013 Keenan

Growth is a Bitch

As a society we are obsessed with growth. Apple’s stock has taken a huge hit since the end of last year due to fear that they won’t be able to continue to grow as quickly as they have. We love and reward growth with admiration and attention. Our entire market evolves around growth, we push, drive, create, compete, and even destroy all in the name of growth. We want more users, more revenue, more visitors, more profit, more views, more customers, more everything. We try and squeeze every little ounce of growth out of every nick and cranny we can. We don’t like companies or things that can’t or don’t grow. It’s an odd thing.

In spite of our demand and affinity for growth, creating growth is a bitch. It’s hard to keep growing.

Example, I started this blog 4 years ago. Here is it’s visitor growth trajectory:

Year one to year two: 248% growth

Year two to year three: 231%

Year three to year four: 144%

I’m not expecting to grow 100% this year. It’s just too big a number.

Each year the percentage growth of this blog declines, even though the number of visitors continues to grow year over  year. It is just too difficult to maintain the percentage growth as the number of viewers continually increases.  100% of 5,000 is a lot easier to get than 10% of 250,000.

Being in sales, most of you are familiar with this law of diminishing return. After each successful year, we are tagged with an arbitrary growth number. We do 1 million one year, then are expected to do 1.2 million the next year, then 1.44 million the year after that. When does it stop?

To meet the growth we demand as a society requires unearthly dedication and unbridled creativity. It’s not enough to do what we’ve always done. Each year we need to be prepared to do more. We have to look for new ways to gain readers, we need new products, we need new prospecting techniques, we need new information, we need new strategies, we need to do things other aren’t. Growth requires dedication.

So, there you have it. If growth is a bitch then you have to ask yourself, as a sales person or business owner, what will you do DIFFERENT each year to create growth? Where will you focus? What strategies will you employ? How will you get your growth?

It’s easy to assign a growth number, what is hard is actually knowing how you’re going to get it and as your numbers get bigger, so do the challenges.

How do you plan for growth? When you’re quota increases by 20% do you do what you’ve always done or do you create a new strategy and plan? Are your plans innovative and unique. They should be.

Growth is a bitch, it’s not easy and as you grow it only becomes more difficult.

 

 

 

 

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Comments (3)

  1. You forgot the part where the company hires 8 new reps and cuts your territory by 1/3rd, while expecting you to continue the rapid growth.

  2. That’s why it’s important to understand your market and be reasonable about your goals. As much as I like to think that there are 7 billion people who’d like to read my blog I’m pretty certain it’s only going to be a tiny percentage of that.

    Many of the successful consumer startups do see the exponential growth happening but of course they end up tapering out at some point. Blogs lack that same virality so maybe it’s just insanely difficult for a blog to maintain that sort of growth long term.

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