In today’s disruptive environment, sustaining growth is not that simple. Today’s companies must rapidly and continually reach out to new markets with better products, through more efficient channels, all while supporting their current customers. They must be proactive, rather than reactive.
What is different now? Mobile and Cloud have created new business models. And there are numerous consequences of these new technologies:
Power has shifted from companies to consumers,
There is faster and easier market entry,
Competition is increasing on a global basis.
Corporations are unprepared for extensive regulatory requirements and the increased speed of technology. So how can they sustain growth?
There are various to grow depending on the stage of your company. Initially, growth is accomplished organically, through scaling and improvements.
1. Business process improvements (BPI)
BPI focuses on working more efficiently, operating faster or producing more cheaply by streamlining activities. This will not only add value to your current offering (better, faster, cheaper), but will also free up resources to apply to new growth areas. Some examples of BPI include Six Sigma, Lean Management, Agile Management, Kaizen, Design Experiments and Process Excellence. While popular in the 1990’s, by today most companies have already realised what BPI has to offer.
To scale means to do more of what you are currently doing. Ie. selling more products or services in your current market(s). To be able to scale effectively you will need the right infrastructure. A company must consider the ability of its current leadership team(s), business (ICT) systems and pricing models to handle the increasing pressures of potentially fast growth. And it is important to have a solid strategy in place and the ability to execute.
At a certain point, your products/services will have saturated their current market, whereby it’s time to consider new markets and innovations. This can be done either organically or inorganically.
3. Strategic acquisitions
Strategic acquisitions are usually made to acquire a new geography, customer segment, new product / service or new capabilities. It is important to consider synergies and corporate culture fit when reviewing possible targets. As most mergers fail to create value, primarily due to improper culture fit, these acquisitions are done best initially on a smaller strategic scale. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-acquisitions-fail-2012-10?op=1&IR=T
To innovate is to develop entirely new and improved products and services to meet rapidly changing customer or consumer demands /needs. (Eg a new business model, service, diversification, new customer set etc). Innovation systems, dedicated teams and top level buy-in are critical to performing in-house innovations. Today you will also need to make use of predictive analytics, big data and digital strategies.
5. Growth capital
If you are an earlier stage company without a sufficient cash surplus, you may also need to raise growth capital in order to grow your business and expand abroad. Growth capital is obtained through angel investors (seed capital up to ~ €1mio), Venture Capitalists (~€2mio – €50mio), or Private Equity firms (< ~€ 50 mio +), depending on the stage of your venture and capital requirements.
Of course it is not that simple. All of the above growth methods are continuously interacting. As you scale or innovate you will need to consider business improvements. And when you acquire a new company you will need to focus on achieving efficiencies through synergies.
To summarise, in today’s disruptive environment, managements job is to create a continuous flow of s-curves - new products, services or acquisitions to scale within systems of continuous innovation. If your company can not accept the failure that often comes from developing entirely new products and services, then you may need to buy your innovation.
Innoviance The Growth experts: Capital Raise, Scale, Acquire, Innovate, Improve
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