The Five Keys to Profitable Growth

In the current healthcare environment, there are plenty of opportunities available. Companies just need to know how to take advantage of them. As shown in the visual below, any profitable growth strategy should encompass five components.

Keys to Profitable Growth

Generate great opportunities

Contrary to popular belief, relationships with customers are now more important than ever in the healthcare industry. Companies must understand what their customers need and build stronger partnerships with them.

Determine the best opportunities

Not all customers are good customers. Organizations must implement a process for evaluating the best and most profitable opportunities based on a set of criteria such as growth potential, strength of relationship, appropriate fit with offered solutions, and so on.

Provide the right solutions

Many organizations offer one-size-fits-all solutions and methodologies to their customers. Successful organizations develop custom solutions based on market needs and their organizational strengths.

Maximize usage

When your organization is not the incumbent supplier, you have to make your products and services as attractive as possible to potential customers. Help customers make the switch by providing support in the areas where it is most needed.

Maximize retention

When you create a customer experience that cannot be matched you make it difficult for customers to leave. Ask your current customers why they stay with you and build on those strengths.

As you can see from the diagram above, this profitable growth strategy is a cycle. It should never stop. As you acquire new customers, you should follow the same strategy you do with existing customers.

If you implement a growth strategy with these five components, you will see profits grow and relationships flourish.

What will the best companies do in 2013?

The end of the year is a time of reflection and celebration. But it’s also a time for looking forward to the future and making improvements. Having avatars and examples to emulate always makes looking forward easier.

I’m often asked by my clients, “What will the best companies do in 2013?” Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:

  1. They will take advantage of a more interconnected world. Information is readily available and customers do much of their own research and fact-finding. Success will hinder on a company’s ability to thrive in this environment.
  2. They will collaborate more with their customers and business partners to gain loyalty through approaches like building communities, either online or otherwise, and providing unique experiences.
  3. They will focus on being a constant source of value to customers and providing a great customer experience.
  4. They will continue to attract the best people and they will focus more on retention of their best people. The more commoditized products and services become, the more important people become as a differentiating factor and even competitive advantage.
  5. They will develop new and innovative ideas and solutions for their customers.
  6. They will implement strategies effectively by avoiding the poor alignment of daily activities and the future vision, poor communication practices and a lack of accountability.
  7. They will focus on managing speed (knowing when to speed up and when to slow down), not just increasing it, in order to maximize profitability and performance.

Are you developing strategies that align with what the best companies in the world will be doing?

Five things you can do to improve business development

Now is the time of year when people think there is a slowdown with customers taking vacation, closing year-end, and so on. I don't buy into this theory. It is the exact opposite. This is a great time for business development. Executives are starting to look towards 2013 and are thinking about the future and how to get better results. It is a time for reflection and planning. Here are a few tips to help you get some extra business development done before the holidays:

  1. Call, don't write-Instead of sending that email, pick up the phone and call. You will accelerate the process of reaching your intended target and will likely have a good conversation as well.
  2. Talk to past customers-Re-connect with past customers to see how they are. Follow-up on past projects and see how they are running. Identify new opportunities. You never know what might surface.
  3. Ask for referrals-When speaking with past customers, or reaching out to colleagues, ask for referrals to new prospective clients. Meet with them now or set up meetings for early in the new year.
  4. Develop a new solution-Based on all of these conversations you will be having, develop a new customer solution that you can launch in early 2013.
  5. Take a step back-Review your successes and failures in 2012 and commit to making improvements for 2013. What worked well that you need to do more of and what needs to be improved? What will you do differently to achieve better results?

The idea of a new year's resolution is preposterous to me. If you know you need to do something better (lose weight, develop business, write more, and so on), why would you wait another month to start improving? Start now and you will see results much sooner. By the time 2013 comes around, you will have new improvements to make and you will have momentum going into the new year.

Results of the 2012 SGN growth survey

Click here to download my report from the 2012 SGN Growth Survey (select 'Results of the 2012 SGN growth survey'). We had almost 100 executives from around the world complete the survey, and we will be sharing it with hundreds more organizations.

The Summit Global Network (SGN) is a group of boutique consulting companies from across the globe that collaborate on various initiatives to improve results for our clients.