Five tips for accelerating business growth

Today there is a near continuous need for companies to keep repositioning themselves and re-work their strategies in the pursuit of success. According to PWC’s 2017 CEO Survey, nearly a quarter of CEOs singled out innovation as their top priority for 2018 – this outstripped priorities such as human capital, competitiveness, customer experience and technology capabilities. However, this desire for innovation and growth is often easier said than done.

There are ways to better plan and structure this business growth acceleration process, which I have summarised in these five tips.

1. Hire the right people

A company is only as good as its people, so hiring the right people needs careful planning.

Consider whether you want to bolster your workforce with general skills, find specialist skills and experience or accelerate into new product areas or markets.

A workforce should be as diverse as the customers it serves. Having people from different backgrounds (gender, ethnicity, nationality, experience, sexuality) will give you insight into providing products and services to societies that are increasingly diverse themselves. The recent McKinsey study, Why Diversity Matters, suggests that gender-diverse companies typically achieve 15 per cent higher financial returns and gender and ethnically-diverse companies return an extra 35 per cent.

2. Be customer-focused

Customer-centric companies are 60 per cent more profitable. When organisations start out, they are very customer-driven, but as businesses grow, it can be easy to lose focus on customers and let processes get in the way.

There are ways to tackle this. Analyse your current customer base and pay close attention to market trends.

3. Adapt to changing technologies

Adopting cloud-based services to reduce your company’s established IT infrastructure not only reduces costs and improves efficiencies but can free up your IT team to explore further ways to use emerging technology that will improve a business rather than just reacting to issues. The same technology can also give your workers flexibility

Used wisely, technology can help make your company more innovative, productive, and provide the foundations for the next stage in growth.

4. Get ahead of the game

Companies need to look at the bigger picture and have strategies to get ahead of market and customer trends to stay ahead of the competition.

This requires a more holistic, longer-term view of your company’s operations and business – your company vision, sales strategies, market positioning, your workforce, your technology infrastructure and processes etc.

For example, could your supply chain be more efficient? Are there markets you could push into that your rivals have yet to enter? Do you have a product portfolio that is too complex? Are you spending enough on marketing?

Such analysis can also help identify ways to reduce risks in your company’s operations.

5. Focus on your business, not the competition

Instead of focusing on the competition, invest time and resources to get a better understanding of your own business. Develop and look after your team to drive employee engagement, and this doesn’t just mean pizzas and ping-pong tables

Boosting business growth is not about gimmicks and quick wins. It’s an attitude that must permeate every department and employee, driving every decision and informing every choice. From people and technology to operations and processes, only by taking this approach can businesses guarantee the long-term growth they all desire.

Jennifer Warawa, EVP – Partners, Accountants & Alliances, Sage

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