In today’s pursuit of success, companies seem to be continuously revamping their brand, with key messages and strategies becoming overwhelmingly focused on growth and innovation. According to PWC’s 2018 Global CEO Survey, Canadian CEOs expressed a record level of confidence in the global economy (72%) and their own company’s growth prospects (88%).
The prospect of growth, however, is often easier to imagine than the reality is to achieve. It can be tricky for both new and established organisations to identify new areas of growth and opportunity and then establish plans for long-term success based on these—and that is before a company considers its competition.
In order to better plan and structure a business for steady and solid growth, here are five steps to follow for finding success with your business acceleration process.
Recruit Only the Best
We’ve all heard the saying that a company is only as good as its people, but hiring the right people takes careful planning. It’s critical to establish the specific types of skills and expertise you need for your business, and then map the roles and teams you are recruiting for to those business needs.
Think about this: Do you want to bolster your workforce with general skills that can be moulded into different areas of your business? Or would you rather find someone with specialist skills and experience that will plug expertise gaps to help you accelerate into new product areas and markets?
I love the notion that a workforce should be as diverse as the customers it serves—so do many CEOs, it seems. The same PWC study found that more than half of Canadian CEOs are invested in diversity and inclusion initiatives as a way to build trust and engage with their customers and employees. Furthermore, having diversity in your workforce will help your business gain better insight into providing products and services to societies that are increasingly diverse themselves.
Business success is dependent on the ability to establish new and loyal customer bases. Customer-centric companies are 60 per cent more profitable. Most organisations start out customer-driven, but as the business grows it can be easy to lose focus of customers and let processes get in the way.
Luckily, there are ways to tackle this problem. First, make sure to analyse your current customer base to spot strengths and weaknesses when it comes to customer retention. One way of doing this is to interview new, current and lapsed customers and then act upon the feedback received. You’ll also want to pay close attention to market trends like the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to help you measure customer experience and predict business growth through the eyes of the customer.
Finally, thanks to social media and online forums, there are now more ways than ever to build two-way conversations with customers and develop an active user community.
Embrace New Technologies
Bottom line—Making better use of modern technologies, services and systems will improve operations and help support growth. By adopting cloud-based services, for example, companies can reduce established IT infrastructure to improve costs and efficiencies. This will free up IT to explore additional ways of using emerging technologies that can improve the business.
Let’s take machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Used wisely, these technologies can help make your company more innovative and productive, while providing the foundation for the next stage in growth. Machine learning and AI methods are already being used to automate time consuming administrative tasks—freeing up time to focus on carrying out more innovative and strategic tasks that directly bolster the company’s bottom line.
Strategize Your Way
Promotions and new product releases can boost short-term sales, but they’re not ways to position your company for long-term revenue growth. Companies need to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and have a strategy in place for getting ahead of competitors, the market, and customer trends.
This requires taking a more holistic approach to your company’s operations and business—including the company’s processes, vision, sales strategy, market positioning, workforce, and technology infrastructure. For example, could your supply chain be more efficient? Is your product portfolio too complex? Are you spending enough on marketing? Analysis is the key to making your business more efficient and effective, while minimizing risk.
Instead of focusing on the competition, invest time and resources on gaining a better understanding of your own business. Drive employee engagement by developing and looking after your team. A report into employee engagement suggests that employees report feeling valued and recognised over quirky benefits and in-office gimmicks. The same report also suggests that a 50 per cent increase in employee engagement equates to a three per cent growth in revenue the subsequent year.
Ultimately, boosting business growth is not just about gimmicks and quick wins—it’s about creating a mindset based on strategy. And from people and technology to operations and processes, this mindset must permeate every department and employee, driving every decision and informing every choice. Only by taking this approach can businesses guarantee the long-term growth they all desire.