Written by Shawn Casemore, President at Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, professional speaker and, author. Shawn writes and speaks on the topics of employee and customer empowerment

My father always used to tell me when I was young that there “isn’t much new under the sun”. At the time, I was in my teenage years, and as you can imagine, I completely disagreed. I’ve matured a bit since those days, and I’ve come to realize that his comment isn’t too far from the truth, particularly when it comes to business growth.

In my experience, there are only a few key factors that any business needs to master in order to drive perpetual growth, namely:

1. Align your team, getting them connected with and focused on the key objectives of the business. More specifically, where is the business going, what are the most important factors that will lead it there, and most importantly, how can the employees contribute?

2. Wow customers repeatedly, and in a way that ensures they refer more potential customers. A recent survey conducted by Gladly suggested that over 90% of customers said they would stop buying a product or service after three or four poor customer experiences.

3. Make growth your number one target, meaning market in a way that is relevant to your ideal customer (you have defined them, haven’t you?) and sell in a way that bridges your marketing with both credibility and trust.

Sounds simple when you write it on paper, but it’s obviously more complex to actually get right.

This is where my dad’s wisdom comes into play.

With all of the talk about innovation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stuck on the idea that a business needs to reinvent itself in order to keep up with the times and be competitive.

Sure, you should stay plugged in on what technology and equipment will help you be efficient and productive, but when it comes to the three crucial areas above, the key is in reinvigorating many tried-and-true methods.

Consider, for example, creating a “wow” customer experience. Companies like Bell, for instance, have moved most, if not all, of their call centres back to Canada (my recent call was with Doug from Kitchener), because despite their mammoth size, Bell realized that a positive customer experience means that when a customer calls, they want a quick answer and clear instructions, something which can be best provided by others who are “closer to the customer”.

Did this cost Bell more money? Possibly. Is it worth it to provide a more consistent and positive customer experience, in turn setting them apart from their competition? Absolutely.

If you want to be innovative, here is my recommendation. Get your employees together to discuss ways to create “wow” customer experiences, or to create relevant marketing. You’ll find what comes from the discussion is a combination of “we used to do this, why did we stop?” comments, combined with “what about this?” suggestions.

The most valuable part of these kinds of exercises is that employees begin to align as a team, focused on your key objectives (i.e., growth) simply by being involved in the process of driving growth.

This is innovation at work.

So the next time you are seeking ways to grow your business, put together a cross-functional group of your employees and share with them your objectives. You’ll find the ideas, feedback, and methods that result are a powerful way to drive your business forward.

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