• Mark Topley

The Essential Four Ps for business growth

We all want our businesses to grow. Whether that’s financial growth, growth in size, or internal growth through development.

For growth, we absolutely must have customers, and on this, the data is clear. The generations under 40 are getting more and more powerful. Millennials and Gen Z behind them are over 50% of the workforce and that figure is set to grow by 50% in the next 5 years. Although they have differences, both generations are consistently asking two questions:

  1. what does your business do to make the world better?

  2. are you a business that will help me to make the world better if I work for you?

They want to buy from businesses that give them more than a product, they want to work for businesses that will give them more than a paycheck.

The old Four Ps

We used to talk about the 4Ps in advertising – Product, Place, Price, Promotion. Advertising 101 for anyone who has done a marketing degree. But as Don Tapscott points out, things have changed – the four Ps are dead. And we all need to catch up fast. If you’re losing business, or trying to grow and finding it hard, read on because this is going to help you.

In his excellent new book, Jeff Henderson says there are three questions that your potential patients are asking:

  1. Do you care about me?

  2. Can you help me?

  3. Can I trust you?

Before you dismiss this as fluffy and touchy-feely, Henderson’s questions are backed up by the data. Research by Gallup, CONE, Forrester to name just a few all point to this growing change – patients and customers no longer make their decisions about buying and loyalty based on what you say about yourself, but much more on the intangible questions of values, conscience and trust.

So if the old Four Ps are dead, what are the new Four Ps?


As Simon Sinek says, profit is not your purpose. Profit is a result. If you want to engage and attract patients and staff, you have to be about much more than profit.

To illustrate the point, look to the non-profit world. My career included 15 years leading a charity. We experienced 10 fold growth in 10 years. Why were we able to consistently attract volunteers to give up weeks of their time and thousands of pounds in potential revenue? How could we employ and retain gifted and committed team members to work for far less that they could command in the marketplace? Simple – they were giving themselves to the purpose of the charity, and in doing so, fulfilling their own purpose. I do get that there’s a difference between business and charity, but you absolutely have to know what your purpose is.

Purpose is also profitable. When you compete on price, profits go down, because you’re always in a race to the bottom. But when you compete on purpose, profits go up. Again the data shows – people are more loyal to a business with an authentic and clear purpose, and will even pay more for the same service or product.


People are vital. You need people or you don’t have a business.

You need customers. You need a team to deliver great service. And that means you need to put people first.


Firstly, because your team will treat your patients how you treat your team. I can tell how good the leadership of a practice is by the way I am greeted when I walk in. There’s no fake smile or over-rehearsed script. There’s a genuine desire to do the best for me and make me feel welcome. Investing in and developing your team so they in turn care for others is key.

Secondly, by far the most powerful advertising you can invest in is the positive word of mouth recommendation of your patients. Treat them well, show you care, that you can help, and that you can be trusted, and they will become an unpaid sales force. Patients and Customers will fuel your growth, because your Brand is no longer what you say about yourself, but what a friend tells a friend. You want to be sure that what they’re saying is positive and matches up with who you say you are.


The third P is all about playing your part as a business in your community. It goes way beyond the occasional raffle, bake sale, or Red Nose Day. It’s about building a partnership with charity and community organisations that is consistent, structured and planned. Something that demonstrates to your team and your patients or customers that you have a conscience, and that you put your money where your mouth is. It’s not something that you do for your community to get them to do business with you. You do it because they are your community, and you are committed to making a difference.


There has never been a more important time for us all to take our environmental responsibility seriously. We’re increasingly aware of the uncomfortable fact that our lifestyles are not sustainable. As business owners, we have a role to play in this. By making sustainable decisions in the practice, and influencing our suppliers, patients, customers and stakeholders to do the same.

It probably comes as no surprise that these Four Ps link closely to Corporate Social Responsibility. The area of business that I am most passionate about, and spend my time helping businesses to get right. It’s about an overarching purpose, caring for people, the environment and working meaningfully with charity & community. One of the best things about my job is the buzz I get from helping owners and managers connect to a greater sense of purpose. It’s a thrill to help them shape their purpose and get their teams excited all over again.

I want to help you grasp this and put it to work in your own practice or business. I’ll be exploring the Four Ps through a free, four-part short-video series between 25-28 February.

The Four Ps Business Growth Series

Each day, I’ll send you a subtitled 5-minute video, together with three questions to think about each day.

You’ll be able to watch the video while you brush and floss!

And the questions will give you some things to mull over in the day. I guarantee that if you apply just one thing from each day, you’ll see an impact both personally and in your business.

So if you want to grow your practice or business, and see how the Four Ps will work for you in increased brand quality, patient trust, team productivity and retention, click here to register with your email address and look forward to ‘The new Four Ps’ between 25 and 28 February.

Sign up here.

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