B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #3

Be a business builder

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Business leaders can be classified as Builders, Remodelers, Decorators, and Realtors. If you want rapid, profitable, sustainable growth, you need to find and reward the Builders among you.
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Transcript of Chapter 3

Ever work for a business leader who was a builder? I have: It was a wonderful experience.

A builder is someone who drives business growth by delivering real value to customers… brushing aside business fads, short-term distractions, and financial gymnastics. Under their leadership, a business grows in size, profitability and stature.

Your company was founded by builders, and you can still spot builders today. They focus on understanding customer needs and meeting them with differentiated products. This leads to reliable organic growth over the years.

Other leaders are remodelers, always fixing the place up. This is helpful work—improving efficiency, quality & costs. But if nothing new is built, you have diminishing returns and a race to the bottom, ending in commoditization.

Other leaders are decorators, trying to boost “curb appeal.” They’re focused on how the place looks, and life is all about the quarterly financial report. They think they’re doing meaningful work, but are actually engaged in a spectator sport, not a participant sport. What they do this quarter seldom matters even next year.

Finally, some are realtors. They love to buy and sell, reaping their rewards during mergers & acquisitions… when the work of others’ hands changes hands. Acquisitions are fine, but if you can’t grow what you acquire… you’re building a house of cards.

Does this mean you should forget about operational efficiency, financial reporting, or M&A? Of course not. But what is your passion? What gets you excited about your job? For the builder, it’s driving organic growth over the years.

Only the builder satisfies the first duty of any business leader: Leave your business stronger than you found it. If you’re a leader and you miss this, you’ve failed. Not to put too sharp a point on it, but you failed the people who depend on you.

There’s more in our e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth. In the next chapter, we’ll see how some leaders take credit for growth, when in fact… most of it is unearned.