Growth and … Headroom

Growth isn’t from everywhere. Its from specific places.\r\n\r\nIf your hand-printed silk head scarf  sells at £400, your market consists of all those who haven’t bought the scarf already and are most probably women, glamorous and wealthy … or their partners and friends.\r\n\r\nYour market is not everyone in the world, or even all women in the world, or all wealthy people in the world.\r\n\r\nHeadroom is the gap between those who have already bought the scarf and those who are most likely to do so.\r\n Headroom is not the gap between those who have already bought the scarf and everyone in the world.\r\n\r\nThe market is specific, and knowing this allows you to develop a marketing strategy that reaches probable buyers more often.\r\n\r\nTo put it differently,\r\nHeadroom does not include the market share you will simply never get.\r\n\r\nAnd to put it in other words,\r\nHeadroom  is the room in which to manoeuvre, position and pitch for growth.\r\n\r\nSo to invest well it is important to know, where is the Headroom?\r\n\r\nWhich brings us to churches who write strategies for growth without any concept of Headroom.\r\n\r\nLet’s consider two typical areas – Evangelism and Youth Work.\r\n\r\nIt is right to say that everyone in the world (let’s say parish) should have the opportunity of knowing and responding to the Gospel, which is uniquely designed for everyone in the world. But not everyone wants to hear the Gospel, or wants to respond, or feels they need to hear the Good News, or they simply don’t believe it. Not today, anyway.\r\n\r\nSo although the offer is suitable and appropriate for everyone (in the parish), the reality is that the size of the group who are interested and likely to respond is much less due to the self-determination of members of the group itself.\r\n\r\nIn this case, Headroom is the space between those who have already accepted the Good News and those who have not but are willing to consider it. Growth will come from making sure those who really want and know they need Good News get to share in it.\r\n\r\nYouth Work is different. There is no compelling Biblical description for youth work ministry in church, but we believe it’s a good idea. And others do it, so we think we should too. We believe that the Headroom in this case is the space between those young people already coming on a Friday night and those (in the parish) who don’t come yet.\r\n\r\nBut it’s not. As in the first example, there will be those who opt out because they simply won’t be interested in coming. Growth will come from making sure those who really want to come to a youth club for the benefits it offers.\r\n\r\nBut unlike the first example, youth work is a product not a truth. And unlike expensive scarves, the product is not a finished object but a set of relationships and experiences within a community of particular people. This means that the quality of the ‘product’ is not based on remote manufacturing processes somewhere else, but on the resources and competencies of the people running the ministry there and then.\r\n\r\nSuddenly the idea of Headroom changes. If the resources are inadequate and the competences are poor, the headroom for growth becomes those not already involved, who would be interested in coming, and who can tolerate embarrassing incompetence.\r\n\r\nAnd that’s another truth. Bad products have little Headroom for growth.