My first trip on a German autobahn was an unforgettable experience that left me glad to be a pedestrian again. There’s no speed limit on these well-engineered and flawlessly maintained roads. Many people drive high-powered Porsches, BMWs, and Mercedes that are designed to almost fly over these routes.
The CEO of a prominent German company loaned me his personal car and driver for a quick jaunt to the airport. Thank God for that favor: Otherwise, I would have been driving and I had never driven faster than 120 m.p.h. before. On the autobahn driving at 120 is like poking along at 55 m.p.h. on an American freeway. We passed that speed within a few seconds. Before long, the speedometer topped 250 kilometers an hour (roughly 160 m.p.h.). It was exciting, but that initial reaction began to turn into fear.
Fortunately, the driver glanced back and noticed a slightly green and wide-eyed passenger . . . and the car slowed. At 140 m.p.h. I relaxed. That lower speed then felt comfortably slow even though it was much faster than prior experiences. This experience proved that you can get used to anything pretty quickly. And the faster you adjust, the sooner you make more progress and enjoy the process.
Some people experience the same sense of combined excitement and fear when they first think about making benefits available to 21 times as many people or increasing sales by a similar amount. Let’s start at a slow pace and accelerate gradually past your current experience to make it easier for you to adjust to this faster journey.
Let’s consider scale for a moment. The average business serving individuals has fewer than 1,000 customers. The average business addressing the needs of companies has fewer than 30 customers. If you compare those numbers to the world’s population (over 6 billion) and the number of businesses (many millions), you quickly appreciate the untapped potential for the average business to expand. By comparison, many schools, hospitals, local charities, and town government departments directly serve no more than a few hundred people a week. Even if one of these organizations suddenly expanded its scope by 2,000 percent (20 times), the resulting scale would still be small compared to global potential.
Similarly, the largest companies and nonprofit organizations are serving considerably less than 1 percent of the world’s population at any moment. Clearly, these larger organizations also have substantial opportunities to expand their delivery of goods and services.
For now, just enjoy thinking about how much delight you will gain from providing your own offerings in 21 times greater volume . . . especially if you can reach that level at your own comfortable pace.
At the beginning of your journey, you need to decide what kind of performance you want to expand by 21 times. Sometimes the answer is unavoidably clear. Other times, you have to look beyond the obvious. For instance if you currently sell furnaces, you could decide to sell furnaces to 21 times more people to reach 21 times greater volume. That’s fine. But if you look around, you may find a better alternative. Since people buy your furnaces to make their homes warmer, you may choose to also help them improve their warmth in other ways as well (such as by installing needed insulation) and gain some of your increased volume from your expanded scope of offerings.
Likewise, a nonprofit organization may be providing food to poor people who are looking for work. You could decide to feed 21 times as many people. Or you could also decide to help unemployed poor people find jobs. Even better, you can help the unemployed find great jobs serving other unemployed people to find great jobs as well. You need to consider whether you want to deliver more of the same benefits or a better combination of benefits.
Why do some people refrain from buying or using your offerings? These limitations may include stalls (harmful habits based on poor ways of thinking) such as being comfortable with ignorance, misconceptions, disbelief, sloth, lack of time, being short of money and emotional discomfort with what you offer. You can uncover the hidden barriers to expansion by asking this question: “How much would I have to pay you to take and use my offering?” Yes, even many free products and services are so unattractive to potential users that you would have to pay them a significant amount to take and use the offering. By asking how much and why people want to be paid, you’ll find powerful flaws with what you’re offering.
How can you eliminate the barriers to expanded usage that you found by asking that important question? First, brainstorm with others to accumulate as many ideas as possible. Second, thrash those idea grain stacks to separate out just the choicest seeds of potential improvement. Third, compare those best barrier-busting opportunities to select the methods that match your resources.
How can you implement barrier-busting plans to expand usage? By considering what could go wrong and preparing for those issues, you will finish paving your faster route sooner so you can begin serving more people.
You can make faster progress by applying some 2,000 percent solutions (ways of accomplishing 20 times more with the same time, effort, and resources) for expanding awareness and usage of your offerings. You also need to ensure that everyone will be delighted with your expanded availability.
With that preparation, you’re all set to make a huge leap forward in growing your sales by exponential leaps and bounds.
Copyright 2007 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved