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Are you planning your business or are you planning your growth?

If you are like many high-performing business people, you have an annual ritual to set your plans for the coming twelve months. Some people do it in December, others at weird, miscellaneous times of the year, but most--me included--tend to do it the beginning part of the New Year.

It doesn't matter exactly when you do this, but it is important you do it sometime soon. It has been said all the way back to the time of the ancients: goals and written plans for their attainment are the surest way to speed up your accomplishments. So skipping this step is not an option!

As you buckle down to this critical task, consider: are you planning for business as usual or are you planning for wonderful, extraordinary, growth? Many people feel kind of beaten down by the past three years of economic mis-performance and think a year in which profits don't retreat will be a good year.

Others--most people--will plan to do something very much like they did in 2003; perhaps they will try to do it a bit better. They may look at the surplus resources they have available (if any) and try to figure out how they can eke out a little more performance, profit and revenue--without taking any big risks or doing anything radical. And for the most part, it will be business as usual.

Ho hum...

Don't be either of these types...

Plan to do something extraordinary!

Plan to extend or expand or excel.

And regardless of the economic forecast--which in the US is good, and in other places not so good--plan to create a breakthrough in your business.

Sounds good... How?

First, some fundamentals. Unless you have invented something never before seen in the world, there are only four components to having a profitable business:

1. Have a large enough--and rich enough--market;

2. Have products or services your market wants and is willing to pay for;

3. Have a cost efficient way to obtain (and deliver) the product or service; and,

4. Have a cost efficient way to sell your product or service.

And regardless of what you may have heard in the past, there are only three ways to increase your revenue:

1. Sell to more customers;

2. Sell more to the same customers with each transaction; and,

3. Sell the same customers more often.

Think about it...

Because while all of this may seem obvious and trivial, careful consideration of these seven simple statements will provide you some mighty powerful insights into how to have a breakthrough in your business.

Second, your job is to turn these statements into the right questions.

Questions like, "How can I sell more customer?" Or, "What services can I add to my product mix to increase the size of an average transaction?" Or even, "Am I selling to the right (large enough and rich enough) market?"

Asking the right questions will fire off thought processes that can make you money--lots of it--provided you answer the questions and act on your answers.

Say your business sells software to plumbing supply houses. You expect the pace of building to cool off a bit this year because of global interest rate increases, which will mean that your customers will have less money to upgrade their computer systems this year. "How to sell to more customers" might not be the right question this year. But asking "how can I sell more to my current customers" might lead to an idea to develop a coaching or consulting service that helps them increase their profits--by using your software--even in a down plumbing supply market.

You could potentially sell this service to every single one of your customers! That would be some breakthrough.

And asking, "how can I sell to my past customers" could yield an additional windfall as those guys will really need your help.

Or perhaps you sell web-based information to stock market traders, and the market is heating up again. You know that more "players" will be entering the game, and you know most of them will lose their shirts (again) if they don't get some help fast.

Asking "how can I cost-effectively sell to more customers quickly" might lead you to some powerful joint-venture strategies. And thinking about joint ventures could lead you the question '"how can I provide value to my competitors' products" which could open up a whole new market for you. Another breakthrough.

Can you see how asking questions will help you plan for extraordinary growth?

The right questions, answered in the proper order gives you what I call a Growth Strategy Roadmap. This process will direct your thinking to create breakthroughs on demand. Sound impossible? It's not... I have seen it work over and over. In fact, I've been helping people grow their businesses for years--by showing them how to ask these critical business-building questions.

The third thing you must do, after you ask the right questions, is invent answers to those questions... and then you have to act on those answers. Of course, putting together an effective growth plan is a time consuming process, and there are lots of places for missteps that will lead to bad conclusions. But the benefits can be huge.

Which leads to the... Growth Strategy Roadmap. After years of working through these plans with clients just like you, I have identified the roadblocks and stumbling points along the path of putting together an actionable growth plan.

This Roadmap is exactly that--a complete map with predefined templates that cover this critically important ground. It gives you a step-by-step progression of questions that will walk you through this entire process.

In other words, the Growth Strategy Roadmap takes a complex process and makes it simple--it guides you each step of the way to a growth plan that 1) sells more customers, 2) sells more to your existing customers each- time, and/or 3) sells to your customers more often.

And best of all, the Growth Strategy Roadmap is a downloadable digital program--you can start building your growth plan right away. To get lots more details about this program, go to: growthstrategyroadmap.html

Bottom line, you can either plan for growth... or you can sit there and watch the year go by. Guess which will get you better results?


Paul Lemberg is the executive director or Stratamax Research Institute, a business coaching and consulting firm specializingin helping entrepreneurial companies quickly increase short term profitsfor sustainable long term growth. Of course, he is available for keynotespeeches and workshops and can be reached via

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