How to Grow Your Business in a Downturn - Part 7

In our previous posts, we've talked about three tectonic shifts that define our current context; two insights based upon rigorous analysis of what happens before, during, and after a recession; the stresses in our current recession, the winning strategya strategic framework we developed to understand "how" to best grow; and we've most recently explored multiple methodologies to grow a business. In this post, we will discuss the three primary ways to enable your various growth methodologies: people, technology, and capital.

People - An organization can only grow with if it has the right human capital to enable that growth, which means we need to fully-develop staffing plans along dimensions of culture, talent acquisition and development, and compensation. A high-growth company requires a culture that 1) communicates the importance of growth, 2) embraces new ideas, 3) tolerates mistakes that will come with growth experiments, and 4) creates rewards for the talent that cultivates that growth. 

Key questions to ask regarding people:
  • Culture - What changes do we need to make?
  • Talent acquisition - What people do we need to recruit?
  • Talent development - What development programs need to be created?
  • Compensation - What new compensation plans need to be developed?
While you can grow organic talent and change your culture, for larger companies, it is often a speedier path to the same goal by acquiring young, high-growth entrepreneurial competitors to fuel your growth goals, while being careful not to kill their passion.

Technology - Technology is also an important growth enabler - especially for Organic Growth initiatives that require integrated processes and systems ranging from infrastructural to customer relationship management investments to provide optimal pipeline management across the organization to get highly-predictable and profitable results.

Key questions to ask regarding technology:
  • Internal infrastructure - What new business technology platforms do we need?
  • External infrastructure - What customer-facing platforms do we need?
  • Business process management - What new business processes need to be developed?
  • CRM - What CRM (Customer Relationship Management) capability needs to be added?
Capital - The lack of sufficient capital resources to implement a comprehensive growth strategy is often the single biggest impediment to reaching one’s growth goals. And it is difficult to raise capital, but thankfully, there are many avenues for companies to explore in order to adequately finance their expansion (see our post Institutional Equity Financing). Larger companies with slow-growth or non-core divisions may want to explore spinning those divisions off in order to reinvest in their higher-growth, core operations. 

Key questions to ask regarding capital:
  • What additional capital is required by the growth strategy?
  • What additional capital resources are available to the organization?
  • What is the best type of capital to raise?
  • What impact will that have on the organization?
  • What is our internal rate of growth without additional capital?
And this brings us to the Growth Analysis part of our framework where we analyze the Growth Results, which we will discuss in our next post...

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