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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

December 2, 2010

Self-Delusional Business Growth Models II 

(Second in a series of three) There are a number of business growth models that – to put it simply – don’t work.Within this group, there is an especially dangerous sub-set: business growth models that not only don’t work, they’re actually self-delusional – as in, they lull the executive team into thinking they have a working model that’s likely to succeed, when they in fact have quite the opposite – a growth model that’s broken.

Here’s self-delusional business growth model #2 (#1 is here):

2. Presuming intent.
Here’s how this delusional growth model goes – something like this…

We’ll raise the average order value for product x (or customer segment y, or geographical area z – whatever) by 12.5%. That’ll bring in $2.7m in new revenues.

To which the universe is saying “Oh you will, will you?”

The problem with this model is that it presumes intent on the part of your customers – and it’s delusional in two ways: (1) in presuming that they will do a particular thing (when you don’t know if they will or they won’t), and (b) presuming that they’ll all do the same thing, together, in lock step (when did that ever happen?).

Of course, we’re going to wheel the full panoply of our marketing and sales brilliance in behind this grand statement, which will make it work. Of course. Because customers don’t have a thought of their own, they don’t have their own plans for next year, they’re just waiting to hear what you have decided you want them to do.

Nnnnn (in the immortal words of Beavis. Or Butthead) ooottt.

Basing your growth model (or part of it) on customer intent is fine. But only if it’s based on their intent, not yours. Instead of presuming intent, why not ask them what they intend buying from you next year? You might be pleasantly surprised, or you end up terrified. Either way, you’ll be dealing with facts, not imagination.

Tomorrow: Self-delusional business growth model III (the last in this short series)

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