Growth Why – A reminder

Many may not have heard of James Carville. He was the political strategist who led the 1992 presidential election campaign for Bill Clinton and he is credited with the phrase “The economy, stupid”. This phrase was a reminder for activists then but I’m not sure such a reminder would be required today. Just about everyone is talking about the economy, and specifically the topic of the day is growth. The thing is, like motherhood and apple pie, it is a very admirable aim with which few would disagree but so what?

96% of businesses aspire to grow

Growth is something that practically every business aspires to. A recent report from SAP found that 96% of SME’s surveyed are looking to grow their business. But this is not even half the story. Less than third expected to grow more than competitors – or over two thirds expected to do no more than everyone else.

Where are you starting from?

I am reminded of an apocryphal story of a English businessman lost in rural Ireland, asks for directions to a nearby village. The local replies, “I know where you want to get to, but I wouldn’t start from here.” And so it is with business growth, many businesses are starting from the wrong place – that is even assuming the business truly knows where it is in the first place. With the pressure on costs going up, ever demanding customers and tight cash flow, even modest growth would be a major achievement for many and this is where some of the keys to successful growth come from.

Good Growth, Easy Growth and bad Growth

First of all, not all growth is good growth, just as not all customers are good customers. Growth is difficult, good growth is very difficult and firms need to understand what gives them the right to grow. Is their product, their service delivery, their brand promise. Once you understand this, the next thing is to work out where and how you will grow. Which markets, customers, competitors? How are
they going to be targeted? Getting your pricing right can be an easy way to get to growth.

Where are the roadblocks inside or outside?

A firm I was involved with recently had a growth agenda. Great product, good customers. The issue was actually internal. The business processes were the blockage but no one could see it, because they could not see it their business from the outside. Then there was a technology business that had a great sales team, great manufacturing and solid NPD, its just that the three didn’t talk. Again, absolutely no chance of successful growth without addressing some more fundamental issues. In both cases, the growth agenda started at home.

Fix the foundations of Growth

Once the foundation is fixed, the exciting stuff can happen. It’s like going camping for your holidays. Yes you have to pick a camp site, check the climate, activities pool etc. But you also have to check your tent doesn’t leak and the car wont break down. To many times, people get stuck into customer segmentation, market entry strategies, product development, internationalisation and a raft of money burning activities that all have to be done.

Coping with growth

Just not before you know you can cope with the growth, how will the growth be supported by the organisation, people, time money & energy. And most importantly, whilst the competition are also looking to grow. Given that most markets are not growing significantly, one firms growth is another firms loss. How are firms going to stop their competitors dipping their bread in your gravy, or their apple pie in your ice cream?

Managing Growth

If the business employs technical people, do you have the skills and framework to manage technical teams, and do you have the management and effective way of working to make good decisions and do your operations deliver on time to customers satisfaction. Unless customer satisfaction is acceptable and scalable the business will not grow.

Growth the self fulfilling prophecy

Customer satisfaction is driven by very well motivated teams. how well motivated are your teams do you have a strategy to motivate them for the long term? Well motivated internal teams enthusiasm oozes out of a business to drive business growth.

If you are considering growing your business, we would love to speak to you – give us a call 0207 193 5518