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Blog Post by Deb Dietz
Recently I had a CEO of an association/not-for-profit organization tell me that they had not conducted member needs research in over 7 years because they already knew what their members needed. He seemed reluctant to discuss the white elephant in the room – the fact that the revenue from membership dues, product and program sales were decreasing. The organization was unclear of the profitability associated with their products and programs, and had decided to reduce investment in the creation of new value for their membership. The status quo seemed acceptable. Yet how long can any organization go without investing in the creation of value, new products, new programs, and new services that customers/members need, and will pay for? And, don’t you need to know those answers so that you can move forward and grow top line revenue for your company?
Any growth strategy requires an understanding of your market, your customers/members, or those you serve. You need to understand the financials, what’s working and what’s not for your company, and then make the difficult decisions about eliminating products or programs that are no longer relevant to your customer-base. Yes, even the ‘sacred cows’ that you’ve sold forever. Maybe it’s time for them to be put out to pasture. You also need to understand market demand and size so that you can realistically forecast revenue, aligning human and financial resources to those initiatives that will provide the best future return on investment to your organization.
Sometimes the status quo isn’t a good thing. Ask the hard questions. Truly understand the status quo and jump start the new value creation process for your company. Fear of the unknown is not acceptable in today’s environment where competitive threats are everywhere. So, if you are noticing sales and profitability trends in your company eroding, arm yourself with insights from research and from the hard work associated with actionable financial data and trend analysis. Truly understand what you need to sell to your customers, and why, and as important, understand what you need to stop marketing and selling. You can realize cost savings by stopping investing in products and programs that aren’t profitable, and you can shift that investment to those products or services that will drive growth for your company.
Get un-stuck. Challenge the status quo. Become a champion of value creation and increase your relevancy to your customers/members. Do it now, before they find another organization that will.