What Game Are You Playing?

Last month, we talked about the first step in growing your business: identifying both your strengths and your opportunities. This month, we'll move on to the next step:

Step 2. Create a game plan that builds on those strengths and takes advantage of those opportunities.

Now that you know what elements of your business work for you and what objections your prospects may have about working with a small company, it's time to develop a profile of your company. Here's where we figure out if you're playing Monopoly, chess, or LIFE.

If you're bent on acquiring more, charging more and growing to be the biggest, baddest kid in the neighborhood, you're probably a Monopoly maven. You move nimbly to find opportunities to expand in your industry (either vertically or horizontally) and seek to dominate your competition. You don't mind adding management when it's needed, but tend to work best with management who can handle an ever-changing landscape and rapid growth. You focus on building a strong team that is along for the ride, and tend to reward them handsomely for loyal service.

Starting with a relatively small staff may seem like a disadvantage, but you quickly recognize that the team you've cherry-picked works hard enough to compensate for that shortage. And because your game plan is to acquire services to broaden your offerings, you tend to have an eye out for vendor partners who may be eligible for a takeover when the time is right. Your goal is to become broad enough and/or deep enough to be recession-proof so that your clients can rely on you for years to come.

If you move deliberately and methodically in executing your strategies, you're probably a chess connoisseur. Your goal is not necessarily to be the biggest in your field, but rather to be the smartest. You think carefully before making any move, and when you do execute, it's sure and fast. You seek like-minded partners who add strategic value to your business and can help you build a reputation for having brainpower in your industry. You want to be regarded as experts in your world, and you know that clients will be willing to pay more to work with your stellar team.

When it comes to making your next move, you carefully judge what players to add to your team. Rather than hiring on a whim, you assess not just what work needs to be done for the present, but also how a particular hire could help you move forward to achieve your longer-term goals. You are also careful to evaluate potential vendor partners; because you value your reputation in the market, you want to ensure that your recommendations reflect well on you. In terms of longevity, you believe that your experience, intelligence and consultative input guarantee that you'll be around for a long time.

If your business goal focuses more on the journey than on the destination, you're probably a LIFEr. You pay careful attention to the warning signs that go up in your industry, and work hard to adapt to changing conditions as needed. You tend to grow your staff organically, adding services as needed to meet your clients' demands so you don't generally have an abundance of fluff in your company. You feel a personal connection with those you work with, which keeps you motivated to continue moving forward on your business journey.

To stay ahead of the curve, you are likely to have a staff that
can wear a lot of hats so you can own many services in-house without relying on outside vendors. To supplement services you don't provide, you carefully assemble a key group of third-party vendors that you trust to deliver for your clients the way you
would. And you're in this for the long haul: you believe it's more important to stay in the game for a lifetime and keep your team happy and employed than to become the Walmart of your field.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions? Or are
you a hybrid of them? I'd love to hear your thoughts...email me at adamatgladworks.com.

Next month, we'll address the final step in growing your business and look at how you can execute and evolve your game plan.