Business Trajectory – Lies, Lessons, and ChartsSeptember 27, 2022
When I started my business, I thought business growth (which I equated at the time to revenue growth) would be an equation that looked something like this:
Which meant if I put in more effort, AND improved what I could accomplish per time unit, the trajectory would then be something like this:
Of course, both constructs are false, for literally all of the reasons. In reality, my business trajectory has been a lot more like this:
Why? Because growth comes at the intersection of Opportunity, Effort, and Ability. If you stumble blind into an amazing opportunity but do not have the ability to take advantage of it – resources, talent, capacity – you can’t capitalize on the opportunity no matter how much effort you apply. If you have the ability but aren’t willing to put in the effort, you can’t capitalize on it either. And if you simply don’t recognize an opportunity when it presents, you can’t capitalize on it despite all the talent and dedication in the world.
But, when you recognize a viable opportunity, have the ability (talent + capacity), and can apply a specific effort to capture it, growth can happen. That specific effort often involves specific, focused expenditures. That means that business revenue and business expenses aren’t matching pathways. First you spend to acquire talent, expand capacity, or otherwise position yourself to capture opportunity. Then, you can turn those expenditures into new revenue. So both lines are stair steps, but they follow each other.
Business growth might be revenue… it might also be employees, new business, new profit, or new markets. Your business trajectory is the directionally accurate line that you draw to connect the elements that are important to you.
Blue = Expenses, Black = Revenue, Red = Employees, Grey = General Trajectory
Where does marketing come into it? Hopefully, throughout the plan: marketing should be anticipating the necessary brand positioning for tomorrow’s revenue opportunity, building collateral to help the sales team close deals, and helping drive customer conversations at every point in between. Marketing shouldn’t be just a “thing” you do as a business, another line on the profit and loss statement, or a department in charge of company-branded swag. Marketing is an integral part of the trajectory engine of your business. If it’s time to rev it up, let me know.
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