Perceptions about marketing, ambition, growth and success: Do you have enough?

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Building materials consultant Mark Mitchell, in encouraging probably large manufacturers to contract for his services, makes four points about growth and expansion:

Market Leaders Can Grow Faster in Four Ways:

1. Follow the old adage and become a small fish in a bigger pond.  Redefine the market to make it bigger. It is very comfortable to be the big fish in a small pond.  It is also very dangerous.

2. Create a new pond.  Find a new market for your products and pursue it as if you were a startup.  The challenge here is that your company will need to think differently about how to succeed.

3.  Take a fresh approach to your sales and marketing.  This will block paths that smaller competitors could use to outflank you.  It will also open paths to growth with much less resistance.

4. Big companies only look for big opportunities to grow.  But there are paths to growth that start out as small streams and then grow into wide rivers.  Large companies are looking for rivers that don’t exist yet.  But there are rivers of sales that are waiting to be created.

There’s wisdom in these ideas, especially for the bigger, capital-intensive businesses that often get stuck in their processes, systems and approaches to marketing and business development.

But what about smaller and medium-sized businesses?

In a recent blog post, I explored the chasm — the seemingly massive barrier that occurs when an organization reaches the stage where it must look beyond the natural word-of-mouth, repeat and referral business (and open public bidding tender responses) to grow and discover/sustain new markets.

I suggested this process isn’t easy because the expense of “other” marketing forms can seem daunting when you are used to achieving other things for free.

But there is another barrier to growth and I’ll acknowledge that this one may be one you don’t want to overcome.

There are trade-offs when we move beyond our business size comfort zone. You may give up some of your core values/needs for growth and the trade-off may not be worth the risk.

The best example of this trade-off, and decisions, can relate to my sudden awareness after achieving my “dream” of becoming a foreign journalistic correspondent in 1980 was that continuing to progress in this career direction — while supposedly at the pinnacle of career objectives — would take me down a life-empty path. I couldn’t see long-term happiness and life quality in travelling from one international news event to another. How would this transient lifestyle lead to a loving, happy family, security, and stability?

In the end, I decided that I would conclude my adventurous travels and settle down for a more conventional life.

We need to be consistent with our values, ideals and principles if we want to succeed in growth.

There is a solution to the marketing chasm, however. It is to frame your business objectives within your values and real vision, then tailor the strategy so that you can truly achieve it without burning up your capital and stressing yourself into places you don’t want to go. You can learn more.

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