I was listening to Guy Raz’ interview of Fokke de Jong, founder and CEO of Suitsupply. During their conversation, Guy asked Fokke if he was limiting his growth because his products are only available in Suitsupply stores – rather than also in shoplets inside large department stores or in a mall.
I loved Fokke’s succinct answer: “No.”
In part, because it highlighted how choices designed to drive short-term success can sometimes come at the cost of long-term success.
But also because in order to have the clarity of mind to make and stick with such a choice, when so many others would think it unwise and unfruitful, you have to be really clear about the value you bring to the table. And, Fokke is certainly clear about the value of his “high-touch, service model!”
It shows in the choices he’s made (and continues to make) when it comes to the company’s customers, and its staff, sales, revenue, and profitability! It’s apparent in how he has chosen to grow his privately-held company.
Growth is Required
I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur or small business owner who doesn’t want to have more sales, revenue, and profitability. And for some, having more impact is important, too.
Growth is essential for a business’ success. It affects how you survive and thrive; it affects how you respond to changes in your industry overall; your market, specifically; and/or the economy.
So, growth of some sort is always required.
But, what type?
Growth by way of increasing revenue and expenses is very different from growth by way of increasing revenue and efficiency whilst maintaining or reducing expenses. The latter type of growth is referred to as scaling.
Both approaches may have the same aim – more. However, not all growth is the same, because the decisions you need to make to reach that goal are very different!
There isn’t a singular answer for how you choose to expand into new customer or geographic markets, or whether you add new products and services to your offerings. Or even if you grow by subtraction – by no longer serving a particular type of client/customer or providing a product or service.
Likewise, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer for how you choose to grow, either.
It’s one of the reasons I say business and money are so, so personal!
And it’s why I so appreciated the depth of self-awareness in Fokke’s answer to the question about whether his choice is limiting his company’s growth. In describing Suitsupply’s “high-touch, service model,” he said it’s like the “Goldman Sach’s of retail…it’s so execution intensive to do it right…” Working in the financial services industry as long as I have and knowing Goldman’s reputation, I knew exactly what he meant.
It’s not that Fokke doesn’t want to continue growing his business with an estimated $200 million in revenue. But, he is determining how big and at what pace on his terms – based on what he wants/needs; what his staff and customers want/need; and what will allow Suitsupply to grow sustainably.
His “No”; A Lesson for Us
There are some great lessons for you and me from Fokke’s “no:”
Do you know what you want and need from your business? Do you know what your business needs from you to thrive?
Do you know what your team and customers/clients value about what you are creating for them? Do you know how you are helping them thrive?
Can you identify the choices you are making that are influencing your short- and long-term success? What choices are helping you protect your brand?
One of the reasons being an entrepreneur or small business owner isn’t for the faint of heart is precisely because sometimes your answers to the above questions may counter what others are doing (or expect you to do). (Case in point: What may appear to be a limiting choice is actually the thing that propels growth!)
What choice have you made recently that is counter to what you see your counterparts doing? What keeps you grounded and stops you from following the herd?
Here’s an Invitation
Like I said, growth is essential for a business’ success. And you get to choose how you want to have “more.” Whether you grow by increasing revenue and expenses or by increasing revenue whilst maintaining or reducing expenses, your approach to pricing plays a critical role.
Much like every other business decision you make, your pricing choices aren’t about what’s “right” or “wrong” relative to what others are doing. It’s about feeling confident that the price you quote is right for you and your business.
A confidence that comes from a place of deep self-awareness about your relationship with:
- your business; and the
- clients/customers you serve or want to serve.
Yep…your pricing reflects ALL that!
Twice a year I host the Pricing Made HumanⓇ masterclass; the next one is Thursday, June 8th at 4pm EDT. Click here to RSVP and save your spot.
I hope you’ll join me and an intimate group of no more than ten other guests. Because how you price is an important key to growing your business your way – aka the right approach for you right now.