I’ve been pondering these questions about “organic” growth for a few days now. What is organic growth? Is organic growth really growth? As I’m talking with prospective clients (CEOs) about what they would like to accomplish through coaching with me, many of them mention that they have grown organically in the past. They state that they want to continue growing organically, or that they want to grow MORE organically in the future. The term is tossed around rather loosely in these conversations, making me wonder if we really understand what “organic” growth means.
Here’s a simple and traditional definition that I pulled from Wikipedia:
“Organic growth is the process of business expansion by increased output, customer base expansion, or new product development, as opposed to mergers and acquisitions, which is inorganic growth.”
That’s pretty clear. Growing your business with the resources you have is considered organic growth and is opposed to the growth that comes by buying other companies.
Yet, within these conversations with prospects, the CEO often leaves the impression that “If we keep doing what we’re doing, growth will come naturally as word spreads about how good we are.”
Other ways of saying it would be, “Things are going pretty good. We just need to not muck it up.” or “It’s not broke. We don’t want to fix it.”
It’s almost as if they are saying that they accept the growth they are experiencing. They don’t want to invest much effort in initiatives, or projects, that would create significant improvements therefore delivering more significant growth.
So, I try to avoid the word “organic” in my business conversations. Rather, I ask about or talk about “rocks” as in “What ROCKS do you need to move to make a significant improvement in your business? What ROCKS would make the same set of resources deliver more growth“?
You probably aren’t really growing if you’re not regularly moving some “rocks,” even if revenue, profits, and cash are growing. I truly believe this. At the least, the growth that might be seen without moving “rocks” wouldn’t be sustainable.
Learn more about identifying and moving YOUR “rocks” by going to rocknsand.com and picking up the book, video, and strategy tools.