Business Priority

July 30, 2011

What’s the most urgent priority of your business? Many of you would say making a profit is your top priority. It’s hard to argue the fact that your business can’t survive if it can’t sustain a healthy bottom line.

OK, so you want to make a profit; then what’s the single most important thing your business needs to grow the bottom line? Revenue. Money that does not hit the top line never has an opportunity to hit the bottom line. Growth, more than anything else, constrains profit.Too many leaders focus their people on line item costs instead of focusing them on the single line that matters the most – the top line. This is not a law of the universe, but if your business is not growing, it’s probably dying.

If growth is the most urgent priority of your business, have you made it everyone’s responsibility? Everyone needs to understand how their daily performance and behavior either helps or hurts the growth of the business.

Please take a few minutes to watch this brief video, then please share your thoughts in the comment section below.  Stay tuned, because my next post will cover the single most important thing you need to focus on daily if you want to grow your business.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Beth says:

    Hi Bret,

    I agree that revenue (growth), not profit, should be the crystal-clear top priority of everyone in a business. Leaders miss the target when they either fail to adopt this priority, or fail to communicate it so that everyone they lead catches the vision.

    I think the difference between growth and profit focus is this: a growth-focused leader says “How can we use what we have to create more?” and a profit-focused leader says, “How can we hold onto more of what we get?” The first is a visionary mindset that resonates with followers and primes them for success. The second is a miserly mindset that make followers anxious about failure and unwilling to innovate.

    Lately I’ve been reading the Horatio Hornblower series of historical novels by C. S. Forester. Do you know them? Besides being well-researched, entertaining stories about a British naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars, they are deeply insightful portrayals of this exact leadership subject: the difference between constructive initiative and destructive conservatism. Except Forester calls them by different names: courage, and cowardice.

    Wars are not won, and business empires are not secured, by dwelling on cost-cutting. Just like in a battle, an organization’s focus needs to be on defeating the enemy (competition) and taking new territory (market share). To do that, resources must be strategically spent, not cynically hoarded to boost the bottom line.

    Overhead is not slashable if it’s supplying the troops with critical systems and resources. Conversely, trendy projects are not worth throwing money at if they only support the conceits of an egocentric boss or board, instead of generating direct revenue by adding incontestable value to the product.

    Bret, I’m looking forward to your next post about the most important daily focus of a business. I wonder how it will relate to life on the high seas with the 1800’s Royal Navy. I’m sure I’ll see a connection.

    After all, any business becomes an “adventure” when you “add venture.” And that’s what you do when you raise everyone’s sights to the horizon of the possible — instead of keeping them fixated on fixing leaks in the hold.

    — Beth

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    welcome back, Beth! I LOVE your second paragraph. Beth, Beth, Beth, YOU really need to be blogging!! Thanks for adding so much value to my blog through your comments. Bret