The year is off to a speeding start when it comes to company growth. According to Stock Analysis, “There have been 5,189 IPOs between 2000 and 2021. 2021 looks to be a year to set records, with around 500 companies already completing the IPO process so far (more than 2020’s record-breaking 480). While there are many paths to revenue growth, the IPO process serves as a bellwether for corporate growth opportunities. But while many companies are succeeding, others find it hard to scale successfully and support the needs of their customers and employees.
No matter how an organization funds its operations, as the company grows, there are several factors that determine if the business can scale and keep its secret sauce…the thing that makes it special to a growing customer base and its employees. Business leaders have the responsibility to communicate their organization’s purpose, demonstrate customer commitment, and invest in continued innovation to add value for current and future employees and customers.
Define Your Purpose:
Purpose can be a huge driver of growth. Workplace analysts at RedThread Research recently issued a study entitled The Purpose Driven Organization. In it, they define purpose as “a clear and concise statement that inspires people to deliver value to multiple stakeholders.” They further call it “the unifying philosophical compass that drives ‘why we do this.”
Once an organization defines its purpose, ensure it is represented across the company and on external channels. For example, when people come to our website, they immediately see the company exists to “help people improve their lives and advance their careers through exceptional healthcare learning.”
Purpose-driven organizations give employees something to align with and help customers build a relationship with the organization. Being clear about why you do what you do, and why that matters, is an essential part of growing your company.
Demonstrate Customer Commitment:
Showing commitment to customers when times are good is a given, but how organizations live up to their promises to customers when times are hard is essential for growing trust and gaining lifelong customer relationships. In fact, the word “commitment” demonstrates an abiding devotion for when times are good and bad.
Several years ago, when working for an up-and-coming software company, we faced a major issue that served as a reminder that customers not only drive revenue growth, serving them also drives company culture. This organization had grown quickly and had unparalleled Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for the industry. People literally loved this brand. End users often used terms like “love” and “delight” when referring to their experiences. Then, like many growing companies, we tried something our customers did not like.
In reality, our customers hated a proposed new approach to how we would use data to improve their experiences (we thought). The executive leadership team had carefully thought through the approach. We saw its potential and thought our customers would love it. We could not have been more wrong. A defensive response would be to dig in and try to explain to our customers why our approach was the right one. Luckily, we didn’t take that route. We were open enough to listen and to change course.
We served a unique group who knew what they needed, and our leadership demonstrated our commitment to customers by admitting when we were wrong, taking feedback, and providing value in the way the customer needed it, not the way we thought they would. Years later, I met an industry analyst who reminded me of that time. He said, “That’s when I knew your company would go far and that was a moment that humanized your leadership team to me. That was when I knew I could trust your approach to our market.”
Neither our customers nor our employees forgot that moment, and doing right by our customers became a core to who we were and everything we did. When your workplace can see and believe in your customer commitment, workplace magic can happen.
Provide Increasing Value:
Finally, no matter what you make or what service you provide, human nature means customer confidence can erode over time. By focusing on meeting the future needs of customers through product innovation, partnerships, or additional services, companies can extend the life of their customer relationships and increase satisfaction levels. For example, our training organization has offerings for learners to receive mentoring throughout their programs and then works diligently to cultivate relationships with hiring partners so our learners can connect with potential employers when the time is right.
By extending the customer lifecycle and focusing on meeting needs beyond the initial offering, we have found ways to deepen relationships and provide extended value, which is also personally and professionally appealing. That’s why we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people change their lives through education.
When an organization’s value centers around its purpose, and its innovation and development focus on the needs of the customer, providing expanded opportunities along the way, a company sets itself apart from the competition and on a path to scalable growth and more fulfilled employees.