5 “Hacks” for Scaling Up; Free Viewing Tomorrow; Dec 9 – 11 Raleigh Master Class
August 18, 2015
Why Jeff Bezos Needs an Army of Robots… Now!
August 20, 2015

100 Fastest Growing Firms; Buyer Personas; Biggest Mistake; AUS/NZ Tour

"…insights for scaleup"


100 Fastest Growing Firms Fortune's 19th Annual list is out – and dominated by healthcare. Most are not well-known names (except Netflix #46, Under Armour #62, and Winnebago #67); however, what's impressive is that Facebook (unlike Apple, Google, etc.) made #10 on the list on the back of $12.47 billion in revenue last year – they are still a "gazelle." Here's a link to the full list.

Video Overview of Trends — And for a 2:28 minute summary of trends from the list, watch this video. I agree with the Fortune editors that this list shows a snapshot of the economy and what is hot (entertainment) and not (oil and gas firms). And it's a way to spot up and coming companies – who are the future giants. Anyway, it's worth 1 minute to scan down through the list.

7 Keys to Dominating Your Market — mentor Hermann Simon wrote THE book on privately held growth firms called Hidden Champions of the 21st Century. Here's the best summary I've read of the 7 lessons from studying thousands of mid-market firms that dominate their niches globally. FYI, "Closeness to Customers" is one of their key advantages. Please take 1 minute to scan down through the 7 lessons, and then 7 minutes to read it more in depth. This is a key formula for crushing your competition. Thanks to Gazelles Certified Coach Chuck Kocher for sharing this article with me.

Selling to the Wrong Customers?  — Do you want to juice up your growth? Does marketing, sales teams, distributors, etc. call on anyone they want? This is the single biggest non-decision leaders make – letting people go after any "low-hanging fruit customers" they can find. And this is the quickest way to destroy margins and commoditize the business. Therefore, it's critical that you precisely define in detail who is your best customer. This is called a Buyer Persona and is one of the most important strategic things you need to figure out. Once determined, you then direct your team/efforts to primarily pursue these people armed with the info they need to land the deal, especially given the fact that 60% of the buying decision is already made before there is contact! Gazelles lost a significant deal because I believe we weren't aware of this.

She Wrote the Book — Adele Revella literally wrote the 2015 book on the topic titled Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into your Customer's Expectations, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business. Go right to page XX in the Introduction where Adele notes:

One marketing professional confessed to me after conducting her first buyer interview, "This is almost like cheating, like getting the exam paper weeks before the final. Instead of trying to guess what matters, I now know not only what the customer wants – I realize how she goes about it."

Adele will take us through her process for determining a Buyer Persona at the upcoming Growth Summit presented by Fortune, Oct 20-21, Dallas. GPro and bookclub members will receive the book next week.

It's Not Simply Demographic Data — the big mistake, one which Bob Bloom also notes in his book The Inside Advantage, is that the Buyer Persona is not just a collection of demographic and psychographic info on potential buyers. Notes Adele starting on page 10 in Part 1 of her practical book:

Too often, Buyer Personas are nothing more than an attractive way to display obvious or demographic data…(and) some marketers will focus on psychographics…but this information has little bearing on how (the customer) will evaluate and choose a supplier/product.

Her focus is on gathering Buyer Insights along with a Buyer Profile – then you have the clear guidance for the decisions you need to make to win the business.

AUS/NZ Aug 31 — Sept 3 – look forward to meeting many of you on my upcoming tour down under. For details.

TECHNOLOGY: Align Software knows before you do when someone needs to re-focus effort on the important. With Green, Yellow, Red pacing capabilities your team will know where they stand even before you do! Scale Up your Rockefeller Habits implementation with www.aligntoday.com– on your computer and on your phone.

Better Book Club — What's your team reading? Increase your books read per team member. Easy, Proven, and in the Cloud at http://www.BetterBookClub.com.


Interested in selecting a coach to help your company Scale Up? Check out this video explaining the "4+1 Rule of Thumb" for choosing the right coach.

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.