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11 Barriers to Repeatable

Business Development
And how to remove them

A Publication of Measurable Results LLC

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Barriers to growth

Chapter 2 How to remove them


When we think of business development we o@en rst think of sales, or revenue growth.
And increased sales are indeed a key part of developing your business.

However too many rms think of business development as an external task, focused on
adver0sing, brand building, marke0ng and direct sales eorts.

Repeatable business development requires looking at the company as a whole and dealing
with internal infrastructure as well as the obvious external items listed above.

What do we mean when we say repeatable development? The image below is the best
overview Ive found of a repeatable business model. Its from Bain and Company and refers
to their book, Repeatability. Research for it was the result of a 15 year study of high
performance companies.

What the image summarizes is, business development starts internally, and progresses to
external ac0vity. Many of my blog posts and books have highlighted the need for a clear
dieren0ator for a business. This isnt to say that every company is an Apple or Nike, it does
say nd out what your core competency is, and build on that.
Business development has two meanings, and how you determine what it means to you as
a business owner or CEO can have a huge impact on your personal net worth.
If you see business development simply as driving sales and revenue growth, that may or
man not provide an acceptable level of return. However if you see it as developing your
business from the inside, so that growth is repeatable and protable, that will maximize
Every business owner should have either a transi0on plan, or a cash out plan in mind
depending on their personal needs. So whether you want your business to be a re0rement
annuity providing cash with someone else running it, or you want to sell outright, you need
to build value.
The rst step is to be honest with yourself and examine any barriers that may be geSng in
your way to maximizing the value of your business. Then take the steps necessary to correct
The 0me to posi0on your business for sale is well before you decide you might want to sell
it. Ive worked with dozens of companies that went through roller coaster revenue and
protability years. I had one owner sum it up really well a@er realizing his company wasnt
worth near what he thought. When I want to sell my company nobody wants to buy it,
when I dont, everybody wants it. Translate that to mean, in the great years when he was
able to take huge returns from the business he wanted to hang on to it. When things got
tough, he considered selling and there were no buyers. Buyers look at performance over
0me. You should always run your business like you were looking to sell.
It provides you great op0ons, and fewer sleepless nights.

Barriers to Business


While there are many candidates, Ive tried to pick the most common impediments
that Ive experienced and those that have the greatest nega0ve impact on
developing a business model that provides protable growth year over year.

Lets start by agreeing on one thing, no maVer what issues are keeping you from
developing your business, it starts and ends with you, the guy in the mirror.

As the owner, CEO, GM, whatever your

0tle, you are ul0mately responsible for
all that happens, or doesnt happen in
your organiza0on. If they dont get it,
dont do it, arent engaged, its on you to
nd a way.
So review my barriers with that in mind!

Lack of direc,on

If you dont have a clear vision of where you want to take your business within a
specic 0meframe, and you cant ar0culate it to all your stakeholders, youre not
focused. If you arent focused, your employees and your business arent focused
either. You are in danger of chasing any interes0ng diversion that may come up.
That ac0vity may even develop revenue, but it probably wont build las0ng value.
Find your core competency and build on it. Growth developed without a plan is
o@en reac0onary, and results in scrambling to handle the addi0on. That o@en
results in increased cost and re gh0ng. Decide where you want to go, what you
want to do, and communicate it. Also just as important, decide what youll stop

Good business leaders create a vision, ar=culate the vision, passionately own the vision, and
relentlessly drive it to comple=on.
Jack Welch

Tac,cal vs. strategic focus

If youre too busy dealing with day-to-day issues to spend some quality 0me
thinking longer range, something is wrong. If the majority of top managements
0me is spent dealing with admin or re gh0ng, you arent addressing the root
cause. Dont confuse being busy with being eec0ve! Its easy to feel a sense of
accomplishment by xing problems but the top persons job isnt to x them,
anyone can do that. Your job is to prevent them. Strategy is hard work, and there is
no instant gra0ca0on. But if you are going to lead, youd beVer have a plan and
direc0on in mind.

Infrastructure / lack of processes

You cannot grow your business if you cant handle what you have. You also cant
protably grow your business if costs increase at the same rate, or even greater
than sales. Lack of resources, or the right resources, and lack of processes can wipe
out the posi0ve impact of sales growth. This is made worse if your priori0es shi@
repeatedly stressing your infrastructure.


Either having too few, or the wrong people can be a huge barrier to building a
repeatable business model. Deal with people issues promptly, before they impact
To develop sustained growth you must be able to aVract and retain great people.
Great people dont migrate to a company that doesnt provide opportunity. Lack of
aggressive growth means less opportuni0es for advancement, making key people
hard to aVract and even harder to keep.

The team with the best players wins.

Jack Welch



Call it communica0ons, teamwork or whatever term you choose, but not having
cross departmental goals and accountability is a growth killer. Growth is not a sales
or marke0ng responsibility, its the en0re organiza0ons responsibility. Everything
that happens internally as well as externally should be done with the customer in
mind. Internal turf wars, poor service, poor quality products absorb huge amounts
of 0me and eort. And guess what, you customer doesnt care whose fault it is.

Access to cash or credit

If you dont have access to adequate credit, that certainly limits growth. This gets
back to having your business ready to sell at all 0mes. Part of that is making it and
keeping it aVrac0ve to lenders. Banks are not in the risk business. If you need risk
capital, that becomes very expensive. Have a plan and work the plan. Show
progress and make your company aVrac0ve to lenders.

Leadership eec,veness

All of the above can be aVributed to leadership or lack of leadership, the guy in the
mirror. Your employees, your customers, your shareholders and Board of Directors
are looking to you to provide the vision, and drive accountability and results.
What you do is much more important and eec0ve than what you say. If you arent
visibly commiVed to making your organiza0on the best it can be, how can you
expect your employees and more importantly your customers to be?

When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly
large circles around your own desk.
-Gen. Bruce Clarke

Some of the things that are barriers to growth and development are seen as
external to the company. I submit most of these are internal issues with internal
solu0ons that become visible externally.

Sales eec,veness

How do you measure sales eec0veness? The obvious metric is revenue growth,
are you sales growing year over year? However there are other things to consider:
What are your cost of sales?
Are you forced to sell on price even though you arent the lowest cost provider?
What is your customer reten0on rate?
What does your sales pipeline look like? Is it growing? Are you following up on
Are your sales people having diculty geSng appointments and genera0ng
If sales arent as eec0ve as youd like do you know why? Are you doing any
marke0ng or relying strictly on direct sales?

Value Proposi,on

Do you have a compelling unique value proposi0on that your sales team, and your
customers understand and agree with? If not youre the same as everyone else.

What do you sell? What problem do you solve beVer than everyone else? If you
dont have a value proposi0on that your customers understand, and agree with, its
a huge impact on sales eec0veness. Your sales force has to rely on personal
contacts, which aVrite over 0me, or lowest price.

What can be more damaging is, if they dont have a well dened product or service
with a sound strategy, they scramble for things to say. Keep your sales message
clear and consistent.

Market intelligence

Do you understand all drivers of your market?

What are your customers biggest issues?
What is your compe00on doing?
Where are the holes in your product or service?
What are your plans to ll them?
Where are the best opportuni0es in the market?
What compe0tor is vulnerable?
You have to have solid informa0on to develop a UVP and a go to market strategy.
Im amazed how many small and mid-0er businesses dont have a clear market

Marke,ng eec,veness

If you dont have clear, compelling message, you are lost in the noise. If you dont
have a repeatable source of new leads, if your website isnt an ac0ve part of your
lead genera0on process you are missing huge opportuni0es for growth. Over 70%
of purchases for goods and services involve a web search at some point in the

It all gets down to your message. If you understand your market, you understand
your compe00on, your value proposi0on, and cra@ your message around those
items your message will stand out. Its hard to stand out as a me too!

Weve iden0ed 11 subjects that Ive seen rsthand in numerous companies and in
numerous markets that adversely aect repeatable business development. Most of
these are within your direct control. We can blame poor economic condi0ons,
government regula0ons, or scarcity of resources, for growth issues, but the truth is
everyone deals with these.

Strong companies can prosper in poor economic 0mes at the expense of weaker

In the next chapter well review how to remove these 11 barriers.

How to eliminate the barriers to
Business Development

Business Development Process

There is a process used to develop a business model that drives protable growth
year over year. It begins with clarifying your vision.

I hate to use the word vision because it conjures up lo@y phrases and not much
substance. What I mean by vision is, what are your personal goals and what do you
need to do with the business to realize them? In small and mid-0er companies run
by the owner, or a CEO with an equity share, thats what it comes down to. Where
do you want to be in a specic 0meframe?

Provide as much detail as possible.
What are your revenue goals
In what 0meframe?
What markets will you be in?
What will you sell
How will you compete?
What will you stop doing?
Now you have a vision of where you want to be.

Now be honest about where you are now. A detailed no B.S.- S.W.O.T. analysis
developed with free and open discussion by all stakeholders. If you do it correctly
you have point A. Point A is now, Point B is where.

Next set 0med, realis0c short-term goals to get you on your way.

Your business development, marke0ng and sales plans should be driven o of
these steps and not as isolated eorts. The business development department
needs a set of expecta0ons, and a clear direc0on, to develop an eec0ve strategy.
The chart on the following page outlines the process. Trying to skip any steps and
focus on revenue growth alone will not provide repeatable growth.

Business Development

Barrier Breakers
Direc,on A part of the planning process dened on page 13. Many
leaders are afraid to dene a direc0on because it may cause them to
overlook opportuni0es. But chasing random opportuni0es can lead to
poor return on investment ,and stressing cri0cal resources such as
cash, and people. Set a direc0on, and evaluate every new opportunity
against your strategy.

Tac,cal vs. Strategic focus Develop an overall plan to use as a
guideline and keep it in front of everyone. Review it on a regular basis
modify as needed and hold people accountable for results. It makes
decisions easier by answering a single ques=on, does this eort or
investment take me closer to my vision? If not why do it?

Infrastructure / Lack of processes use the results of your S.W.O.T
analysis to ll your gaps and focus your eorts. Develop and document
processes to x the weaknesses.

People - Perform to plan, communicate, and drive growth. Hold people
accountable equally and people will respond. Deal with poor
performers fairly and quickly. The longer you delay dealing with
underperformers the more you alienate top performers.
Silos - Destroy them. Be fair, open and insist in cross department goals
and achievement.

Access to credit A credible, documented plan, with some track
record of performance can work wonders in this area. A lender wants
to know youve thought it out and can execute.

Leadership Be decisive and ac=on oriented. Share your vision. I read
somewhere that, if your people arent mocking you about how you
communicate your vision, you arent doing it enough. Expect results
from the organiza0on and from yourself.

Barrier Breakers

Sales eec,veness Measure how you determine success? Set goals
and meaningful metrics to measure progress on a regular basis. Clarify
your message and make sure your sales team believes in it.

Value Proposi,on Part of the planning process on page 14. Its cri0cal
to develop one, unless you are the low cost provider and can stay

Market intelligence Again should be part of the discussion in the
planning process. You cant develop a UVP if you dont know this.

Marke,ng eec,veness Make your website an ac0ve lead genera0ng
machine, not a sta0c brochure. Take a look at my
eBook on Inbound marke0ng if you want some ideas.

Everyone has the same

three op0ons: Keep
hiSng the barrier with
no change in strategy,
turn around and do
something else. Or
iden0fy a plan and
break them down.

What will you do?

I have an abbreviated SlideShare presenta0on of this document

If youd like a free download click here

The minute youre sa=sed with where you are, you arent
there anymore.

Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame Baseball player

Repeatable protable growth does not happen in a vacuum.

It takes planning, commitment, research and accountability.

But like any other good business ac0vity, it can be accomplished with
the right process.

Ive developed a slide show en0tled 7 steps to repeatable business

I use it for speaking engagements and presenta0ons. You are free to
use it to drive discussion within your organiza0on.

Click here to download the PowerPoint

Interested in seeing how your

business ranks? Qualify for our
Business Development survey.
Its an online anonymous tool that can be used by your en0re
organiza0on. It gives execu0ve management a good cross sec0onal
overview from dierent levels.

Go here to

A Publication of Measurable Results LLC