Keith knows his business in-depth. He is one of the best communicators I have ever worked with. He has the unique ability to be very detailed yet constantly keep the whole picture in front of him.

— Tom Kerins, Program Director, Center on Innovation and Improvement


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Growing Your Business – Lessons Learned

Ohio Growth Summit 2013
Today, I was part of a panel discussion Growing Your Business at the Ohio Growth Summit along with Heather Whaling from Geben Communication, Ryan Vesler from Homage and Amber MacArthur from I shared a few things there that the audience seemed to find value in, so I thought I would share them here with you. I look forward to reading your responses.

Some of the points I made:

  • There is no one size fits all strategy for building your business. Your businesses are so very different. Rather than focus on the “WHAT,” focus on the “WHY” and the “HOW.”
  • Sure up your foundation. Many small business owners want to jump in and do their great idea. No one really wants to stop and think. One of the best things you can do is make sure that your mission or purpose, your vision and your values are clear.
  • Visualize what the end will look like if you accomplish your vision. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”
  • You have to differentiate yourself from others in your industry. If you look just like everyone else, no one will pay attention to you. Bill Cosby says, “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is to try to be everything to everyone.”
  • You can differentiate your product or your process, but the easiest – and cheapest – way to differentiate is by your values and how you live them.
  • Most people brainstorm strategies and just pick one – usually the one that is most widely known, cheapest or easiest to implement. You need to prioritize. Don’t randomly assign a priority based upon effort. Prioritize based upon the outcomes you think the strategy will yield, and how those outcomes 1) align to your mission/purpose, vision and values AND 2) how they add value to your customers.
  • We can always make more product. We can hire more people. The most important factor in growing a business is the ability to grow and replicate your culture. If you can’t do that, the rest of it doesn’t matter.

So there you have it. That’s what I had for the crowd at #OGS13. Hope some of it was helpful to you as well. Let me know below by sounding off in the comments.

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