Unlocking Growth in a Low-Growth Economy: Insights and Strategies for Established Businesses
I recently facilitated a business growth workshop for 89 established business CEOs, and the key question that arose was, “How do we get growth in a low-growth economy, riddled with power outages, held back by skills deficits, eroded by inflation, and impeded by gross negligence from the government?” Here are a few approaches to delivering growth across our client base today.
Growth begins with your mindset.
The foundation for growth in any business starts with your mindset. How you think affects how you engage and behave. There are two mindsets:
An operating mindset and a growth mindset. The operating mindset works hard to get growth but often hits a ceiling, building frustration that results in blame and cynicism. It does not yield growth!
A growth mindset works hard and smart. Acknowledging that most of your thinking and understanding is shadowed by not even knowing what you don’t know, or doubt, leads to a curious engagement with insights, perspectives, and new approaches. It helps create a restless and relentless intent to continuously improve, learn, and try new approaches. Across most of the developed world economies, a 64 year old business owner last experienced persistent inflation and interest rate increases at the age of 20. This invalidates much of what individuals experience in traversing the current inflationary and interest rate rises that govern these economies today. If the old dog won’t allow itself to be taught new tricks, it might well perish without a fresh perspective, new insights, and the courage to do things differently.
Growth needs a plan.
To achieve growth, you need a plan that is engineered through design and implementation. There are seven types of growth, each distinct from the other, whose timing and attention are vital. These include organic growth, financial growth, geographic growth, product/service line growth, customer segment growth, acquisition growth, and franchising growth.
Growth must be hunted.
Low growth means that you must grow by outplaying your competitors and eating their lunch. You must also grow by proactively responding to the changes in the status quo governing the problems you solve for your customers, how they behave and buy, seeking opportunities created by corporate outsourcing work to lighten their cost load and become more agile, and from accidental privatization resulting from government incompetence in service delivery.
Growth needs a number.
Tracking, measuring, and achieving growth requires a number to manage your path to success. A company valuation is not luck and prayer; it is primarily engineered, with luck playing a “timing role.” This number allows you to measure and manage your growth effectively.
Growth needs a team.
Your team is crucial to achieving growth, and it is important to ensure that everyone is aware of the growth plan. In over 10,000 surveyed businesses, 95% of employees were unaware of the growth plan, leaving the CEO to do all the heavy lifting. This can result in hitting a growth ceiling because you reach your capacity, and worse, you may fail the business because you burn out.
Growth is intentional and supported by a plan that is brought to life through your strategy, business design, team, and target. The economy’s condition is largely irrelevant when it comes to achieving growth. By adopting a growth mindset, creating a plan, hunting growth opportunities, measuring your progress, and building a strong team, you can unlock opportunities and overcome challenges to achieve sustainable growth in your business.