There is no simple singular silver bullet answer to the growth questions facing most organisations. Many overstated claims are made almost daily about IT-enabled solutions. Some of them have a valuable role to play as part of a comprehensive growth plan.
But the critical truth is that to achieve sustained growth demands re-thinking the business within the identified market changes and longer-term evolution. In turn that requires fresh research and data input, exhaustive review of possible options, and an imaginative development of the right way forward for your particular business situation.That’s where your answer for new growth has to be firmly based on knowing more about the customers you have now and need to add, than any of your competitors. Only then can you build the right strategic plan that warrants major investment and will deliver the growth.
Try our five questions and assess your own growth readiness.
1. How confident are you that your current Business Plans are achieving sufficient growth to reach your key forward financial targets?
Are growth goals clearly shared and is the growth gap well understood? If not, are your plans just off the pace, significantly off target, or seriously below your goals to the point of demanding major re-thinking?
2. If the shortfall is significant, are you planning on overcoming the deficit largely from the existing business?
If so, does your growth planning focus on driving sales and revenue growth to increase the top line, or on delivering the required bottom line mostly through more cost-down programs?
Are you clear on your sources of growth? Acquiring new customers? Improving yields? Entering new geographies? New markets? New businesses? Services?
3. If the current business is continuing to fall away in growth, is seriously below your goals, and sustained cost-cutting is not capable of delivering the recovery demanded, where is the focus of your top line re-building investment?
Re-assessing the contemporary relevance of your brand for changing market and customer circumstances?
Product or service extensions of current brands/ categories?
Expansion of channels to market for existing products (with potential category disruption)?
Alliances with co-operating marketers and / or producers?
Re-appraisal of your marketing and sales effectiveness?
Re-scoping the market for segment analysis, checking under-weighted and over-weighted segments, categories or margin pools, shifts in spending, changes in consumption or user habits and re-setting priorities?
Other more aggressive strategies around increased spending on customer acquisition, category pricing disruption, substantial marketing expenditure investment, major product or brand re-positioning development?
4. And (Or) are you exploring completely new revenue streams from a major commitment to invest in an ambitious innovation program? If so, are you…
Setting up for success – ‘ring fencing’ innovation efforts?
Supporting efforts with experience and appropriate skills to create and manage a robust program?
Organised to have the most effective approach and disciplines to succeed – in culture, management commitment and processes?
Willing and patient in undertaking the essential research, idea testing, re-working, roll-outs, scaling, and re-investing to give your program the optimum chance to win?
Building a sustainable and repeatable capability to commercialise and scale new business models?
Prepared to take a longer-term view, with commensurate investment in resources, to undertake an exhaustively planned, researched and executed program?
5. Is a competitively superior understanding of existing and potential customers at the foundation of answering all the above questions … not just in mission statements, market announcements and staff messaging but in reality and with an uncompromised commitment?
If the honest answer to this question is anything other than ‘absolutely, no’, forget re-visiting the answers to all the other questions.
On the other hand, if the genuine answer is yes, there might be equally valid reasons to share some of our very positive experience in working on realised growth answers, for a wide range of clients over more than a decade.