Growing plants


Growth has more to do with strategy than happenstance.

The world in all markets has become an “Up or Out” place. Long gone are the days of learning a skill or craft and practicing it for the next 25 to 35 years. On the one hand it makes it easier to find the best and brightest while on the other hand it places tremendous stress on the strategic underpinnings of any business.

A recent poll of 1000 marketing professionals conducted by Adobe found that “Marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50.” Doubts concerning marketers’ skills, effectiveness and ability to measure the impact of their work are growing astronomically. For those old enough to recall the glory years of the 80s and 90s it’s easy to attest that business life in 2015 isn’t anything close to what it was then.

Based on a broad survey of businesses, our firm has found a striking lack of confidence among senior leaders in this activity, particularly in the area of growth where technology and human resources converge. The majority of those we have surveyed and researched think there is substantial room for improvement in their growth strategies but they are unsure of how to achieve them.

Here are several avenues of strategy that you could consider while designing yours for 2016:

Growth Strategy 1: Sustain your business.

We have found that there are many different types of businesses that are far better off not trying to become the next Netflix or Google. So many try to put in place what they consider the next big shiny thing only to fall flat on their face and waste precious resources in the process. For these businesses, reinvesting in what they do best to become even better at it often produces far more customer satisfaction and ironically leads to increased growth.

Growth Strategy 2: Rethink your business.

A consistent finding in our research is that more than 75% of businesses do not pursue the full universe of opportunities that they are perfectly suited for and this stagnates their growth over time. In other words, only 25% set their sights on allied fields or services they could offer to new customers and thereby drive their growth. Understanding what you are truly good at and what customers want from your business is the beginning of rethinking and developing into new ways of achieving growth.

Growth Strategy 3: Realign and reallocate your business.

Even the smartest “Go-To-Market” strategy will not be successful if it is underfunded in people and financial resources. How many businesses spend all of their time developing a truly winning strategy but then pull back from a successful implementation by starving it out of existence? The “we’ve never done it that way” is still one of the deadliest and prevalent strategic errors businesses continue to make. Our research has found that this reluctance is often correlated with a fierce fear of failure and insecurity about making significant decisions due to the current harsh business climate.

Regardless of the business size, today’s market and capital pressures are making it far more difficult for a business to make significant long-term investments in their growth opportunities in hopes of holding down their expenses. And the older and larger they are, the more difficult it becomes to grow, making these investments even more essential. What is required is an objective perspective on the true capabilities and reach of a business and when they are understood, a profound willingness to change and invest in them is required. Without it, the hazards of no investment can easily begin to erode a business’ most important objective of all –– its growth.