Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Step Dynamic

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and share lunch with Laddie Blaskowski, a local business consultant who co-authored his first book with his wife Judy titled, The Step Dynamic: A powerful strategy for successfully growing your business.

"I think you'll enjoy the book" and "It's a quick read" were all I needed to hear from Laddie to know I had to read the copy he'd just handed me.

As I've been involved with various businesses and organizations they all want to grow, but few of them could make it work well. There were many bumps and bruises from previous attempts at growth. In my mind, I've always had the concept of how to successfully grow a business, but could never put it into words to explain to someone else.

"Growth does not occur on a straight line", Laddie explained to me. "Instead it occurs as a staircase. You move forward on the stair until it becomes necessary to step up to the next level. At this point, you have to increase your capacity in one big step."

"A big and scary step" I thought to myself, having been at that place before.

Being the visual learner that I am, I instantly related to the graphs he used to illustrate in his book so simply what I have struggled to put into words. The concept makes complete sense and the principle, once understood, can easliy be implemented immediately into any organization, regardless of size, function or position.

As this graph shows, as your revenues increase you will reach a point to step up to the next level. To get to the next level, you have to increase your capacity to produce, sell, manufacture, evangelize or whatever your organization does.

The difficulty with "stepping up" is that it has to be done in one step. You can't add half of a computer, or two-thirds of a software package to increase capacity. Therefore it takes some discipline, patience and risk to make the step.

This graph shows the stages of the step and illustrates the mistakes that often haunt the entrepreneur as growth is attempted.

According to the book, A and B represent the normal stages in business. The Y and Z represent problematic situations.

Y - Shooting past the step - extending your sales beyond your capability
Z - Stepping up too early - making the step before sales can support the growth
A - Phase 1 (Sales focus) - increase sales to pay for new capabilities
B - Phase 2 (Profit focus) - increase efficiency, improve technology and improve the workflow process.

So, if you want to grow your organization to the next step, this book is a must read. I've already used it several times as I've talked to clients about growing their business and they seem to get it right away. A kind of "Ah-ha" moment for them occurs. I keep using the word "organization" instead of business because the principle will work for any organization considdering growth. I'm on my to another lunch right now where I'm going to give the book to my pastor and tell him he needs to read it.