Call it the entrepreneurial instinct, innovation, business savvy, whatever you want: strategic growth is how business prospers.
While iconic ventures stand as global luminaries of category-defining growth, such as the modern grocery store and overnight delivery, most businesses cower when facing growth.
Growth is a natural source of power, a wellspring or volcano. Businesses, like nature, live a lifecycle. Organizations are as alive as a person; yet, most businesses do not harness the growth process to gain an advantage.
Rare companies that address growth by a mix of planning and making well-timed, well-orchestrated adaptions to their plan make positive headlines.
In most cases, dynamics change market conditions and businesses retrench. They do more of what no longer works with increased vigor and focus. They react in fear. These actions dig a grave.
More than ever, every business needs to find, discover, and implement fresh, rewarding ways to procure and retain business. Remain relevant, demonstrate value, and compete with formally unthinkably high levels of service.
At a time when companies need to radically rethink their market strategy, they hide behind walls of denial and the sleepy, sentimental practices that worked in the 70s, 80s or 90s.
Sadly, we witness this reenactment at business after business: “Growth. What do you mean? We’re just sitting, waiting for the phone to ring. … We don’t need a plan. … We just trade customers back and forth with our competition,” and on and on. We get thrown out for crazy talk.
Excuses and justifications, we’ve heard them all. They add up to a deafening wake up call for the whole business culture of Planet Earth.
Consider your business. Do you really want to become one of hundreds of companies that were industry leaders in the cultural climate that once was? An example of the perfect company for its era, long ago? Or, can we retool our business climate and invent new product pipelines and services that create new markets and generate serious returns?
What will this generation’s visionaries look like?
What core markets will they disrupt or create? How will they impact the world and infuse the local economy by being a top employer and recruiter for the area? Perhaps it will grow out of your neighborhood?
Let’s apply this crazy talk to existing companies. What old-line companies will transform their business model and product/service mix to keep growing? What companies will quicken their demise by not changing?
These are crazy times. Listen to the crazy talk.
Here’s what keeps you sane
Accept the fact that growth is a reality in business. What keeps you inspired is seeing your topline revenue grow because you guided change in your favor. You have a strategy. You adapt. You keep the firm in the present moment, instead of living a tired dream and repeating outmoded practices.
Will the next company be ready to grow, stand up? The world needs you.
image credit: boldomatic.com
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Michael Graber is the co-founder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis.