Working with a very important client this week to 'Discover' their untold story, I saw surprise on the face of the business owner when we stumbled upon the area causing his business to grow at a snail's pace. Does it feel like quicksand? Is your business growing slower than the interest payment on your line-of-credit? Have you begun the entrepreneurial dance of assigning blame? Do you suspect this might have something to do with ineffective marketing? Typically, business owners feel their business should be growing faster, but few isolate the problem. The elements affecting the growth of your business fit into four distinct categories. Personal Experience (PE) Are you meeting your customer's expectations or falling short of them? Do you have policies and procedures that work for you, but make your customer mad? Does the person answering the phone make you customer excited they called, or are they made to feel like the tag on Mini Pearl's cheap straw hat? Does each touch point justify your prices higher or do you only compete on low price? Impact Quotient (IQ) How does your offer meet the felt need of the reader or listener? Yelling, "Fire!" from the 50th floor of a downtown skyscraper has maximum impact – and it only needs to be said once. How often are you screaming at the top of your lungs and feeling like you're howling at the moon? There is no such thing as the wrong customer, there are only wrong messages. Get your message right and customers will come in droves. Share of Voice (SoV) Is a function of budget. How much money are you willing to spend in your marketplace? If you're the only store in a small town your SoV can be very high for on a little amount of money. However, if you're trying to compete nationally via the web you'll find the formula far more difficult to balance. You don't want (or need) every Tom-Dick-or Harry visiting the site or your store. You only need to spend enough to get the right number of customers into your business. Most advertisers try to reach too many people. Market Potential (MPo) How big is the lake you're fishing in? What percentage of business are you currently reeling in? How much business is available in your category? Is there sufficient room for growth? Once these questions are asked and answered you're simply dealing with numbers. The smaller your percentage of market share the greater your upside potential. Your industry experience is the simplest way to estimate your MPo. You know how much business you're doing with, how many employees you have and how many delivery trucks. Now look around. Visit you competition and figure out their employee count, etc. You'll be surprised how close your estimate will be. Next ask your trade association for research. They often know what percentage of business each store is doing in each trading area. If you have decided your lake is the right size then it is time to use the formula for problem identification.