Growth is a natural strategic objective for most businesses, as a means of creating increasing value and rewards for owners and employees. However, in our experience, prevailing political and economic uncertainty may be shaping behaviour towards low risk strategies such as reducing costs and improving operations, rather than producing growth. This inward view of an organisation can sometimes be exacerbated by external factors such as those faced during a downturn – and growth can even sometimes regarded as at the mercy of the economy, as a cyclical phenomenon that managers are powerless to influence.
However the highest performing growth companies give the lie to this kind of ‘growth defeatism'. In Scottish companies like Brewdog, Skyscanner and Holland & Sherry, growth management is as much a discipline and skill as cost management or operational excellence. How do they do it?
It starts with a leadership commitment to growth – in good times as well as bad – followed by systematic effort in three areas:
- FOCUS – getting maximum performance from the core business by focusing on the most profitable high-growth segments, delivering exceptional value for customers, eliminating loss making products, and minimizing customer churn
- CREATE – introducing new products and entering neighbouring markets to generate incremental sales
- SELL – using the commercial levers of pricing, promotion, channel management and salesforce productivity to stimulate sustainable revenue increases
The commitments, actions and results of growth are very different to those of reducing costs and improving operations, which can often be demonstrated by quite linear and immediate outputs.
But growth is just as executable through a system of FOCUS – CREATE – SELL initiatives.
AAB supports businesses to achieve exceptional growth by assisting with product portfolio reviews, pricing optimization plans, identification of high growth opportunities, streamlining the new product development pipeline, increasing sales force productivity, and improving growth analytics and reporting.
With our growth incubator style approach, AAB are seeking growth orientated companies or executives to engage in programmes that promote accelerated profitable revenue growth in a systematic way.
Alasdair Green is a Senior Manager within AAB's Consulting divison, leading the firm’s strategy, change and advisory management services.