What Are You Focusing On To Sustain the Growth of Your Business?
By Christopher DiCenso
Growth Strategy Partners
Imagine if you could gather all of the knowledge and experience of CEOs who have grown very successful businesses and combine it with the insights of accomplished management experts and the latest research on factors contributing to sustained business growth? Would all of this knowledge and experience indicate that sustained growth could be designed into an organization?
We were intrigued by what all this information may indicate and therefore set out to quantify what factors contributed to the growth of companies recognized, year after year, for their rapid growth. After four years of interviewing and researching fast growth CEOs, authors and management experts, we have determined that you can design a sustainable growth business and it is based on implementing some fundamental management practices.
During the last four years, we have surveyed over 500 CEOs of fast growth companies. Most of these CEOs were from the Inc 500 and Fortune 100 fast growth lists. In addition, we read and analyzed every book and article we could find related to “growth”. After summarizing and analyzing this combined research, it became very apparent that from all the CEO surveys, interviews and author analysis, there are five management practices that are instrumental in growing a business.
The five practices are:
1. Advanced Customer Management
- Effective Strategic Planning
- Robust Processes
- Superior Products and Services
- Strong Cultural Values
Advanced Customer Management – refers to a companys ability to manage its customers and markets more effectively than the competition. Companies practicing advanced customer management typically have a better understanding of what the customers specific needs are and the customers uses of the companys products or services. They know this because they are constantly asking the customer not just what challenges they need solved today, but what challenges they expect to encounter in the future. These fast growth companies are therefore receiving insights into possible customer or market shifts before they occur and can proactively adjust or develop products or services to meet these future needs.
Effective Strategic Planning – refers to the process by which the company plans, aligns and executes its strategic initiatives with its available resources. Consistent across large and small fast growth companies is the presence of a strategic plan. This plan may not be as robust as many large company plans, but it typically identifies which customers, markets, products and services the company will focus on. The process of developing the strategic plan has also been effective in aligning senior management on the priorities of the business, something that most private companies have difficulty achieving.
-refers to the sequencing of activities, or processes, by which work is completed. Fast growth companies understand that efficient processes cross many functional boundaries within an organization and have therefore established more process-based organizations where teams are organized around a process rather than a function. Process teams could be designed around fulfilling customer orders, resolving customer concerns, developing new products or hiring new employees. Fast growth companies have also identified their core business processes and designed them to support the business growth plans. Superior Products and Services – refers to a companys ability to consistently introduce innovative and distinctive products and services.