Thoughts on Leadership: Focus on the Top Line

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Irvine, CA at our HSF Affiliates headquarters for alignment sessions with prospective brokerages and meetings with our teams. The alignment sessions are always exciting opportunities to meet with innovative companies eager to grow. My personal mission, as you may know, is to help people achieve their goals faster than they would in my absence and for brokerage owners that translates into devising the right strategies that will lead to increased profitability and success for their brokerage.

One way to grow is by increasing your top-line revenue.

As a business owner, your professional life is a constant balance between growing your top-line revenue and maximizing your bottom-line profit. For top-line revenue—the first line of your income statement that represents the total sales in a given period—an owner can compare this number year-over-year and determine if the company is growing or shrinking.

Every business, no matter what sector, can benefit from focusing on growing top-line revenue. Here’s how …

One excellent way to grow-top line revenue is by exploring opportunities your competitors have not discovered yet. Innovation is itself a strong stimulant for top-line revenue growth.

Another way to grow top-line revenue is by re-tailoring your marketing to better suit your ideal customers. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we focus our digital marketing strategy on personas—first-time home buyers, luxury home-buyers, move-up buyers, move-down sellers, etc.—and drill down to the specific messaging that would most appeal to that particular consumer. For our prospective franchisees and current affiliates, this change in marketing can happen merely by joining our brand.

A third way is by putting a system in place to ensure that you’re ready for growth. Our teams here are all fully versed on the principles of the Four Disciplines of Execution and it allows us to coordinate our efforts across multiple departments. What good would it be to acquire a new business, affiliate with a brokerage or attract a large increase of clients if you aren’t adequately prepared to deliver on this influx of business?

Which brings me to my fourth point … to really increase top-line revenue you must have not only the very best customer service but also the very best skills. (Remember, customer service is frosting but cannot be the whole cake.) Consider a surgeon, who runs a clinic and doubles his patient count in two months. Do you think those patients are more concerned about his customer service or that he possesses the skills necessary to perform successful surgery?

Lastly, to increase your top-line revenue, look to technology. Predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning can all help you anticipate what your customers want—or don’t want—and allow you to tailor your business accordingly, which will directly boost your top-line sales. It’s a pretty simple concept: If more customers like what you’re selling, they’re more likely to buy.

So, what’s the message? Focus on top-line revenue. As Gary Vaynerchuk, social media guru and CEO of our ad agency, VaynerMedia once wrote: “The reason I focus on top-line revenue vs. profit … is that you can always drive your profits eventually … you can always start cutting costs or raising prices at any time but [securing] more customers for top-line revenue growth gives you the leverage and scale you need to ultimately convert.”

Respond to Thoughts on Leadership: Focus on the Top Line

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