By Brandon Fredericks, CPA
Principal | Apple Growth Partners
Business owners have likely seen the statistics stating how many small businesses won’t survive past the first two, five, or even 10 years from origination. The fight to overcome these statistics can be an excellent motivator and energizer, but how do leaders ensure their energy is directed at the “right” strategies that will succeed?
There is also a difference between sustainability and growth. A common leadership quote rings true, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Taking the leap from sustaining marginal profits to achieving substantial growth can occur with the proper strategy in place.
Growth doesn’t happen accidentally. A clear, actionable plan for growth is essential to remain strategic and intentional at every step and to ensure your business has every chance of long-term success. Organizations can achieve growth through a plan that is clearly communicated, that puts purpose ahead of profits, and creates a culture of accountability.
There are a variety of paths to growth, from expanding current markets and product offerings, to acquiring another business to take advantage of synergy opportunities. The question is – which is best for the company? There’s no cookie–cutter answer – success will be to each business owner’s unique needs. Before thinking about any specific growth aspect, such as acquiring a competitor, organizations should take a deeper look into the core of why great growth companies are always able to succeed.
Sharpening the “Why”
As Simon Sinek has said, “All organizations start with why, but only the great ones keep their why clear year after year.” How sharp and in focus is the organizations’ “why”? What is the businesses’ purpose? Without clarity, any strategic growth plan will struggle to be achieved and/or sustained long term. Before jumping into any growth idea, business owners should take a moment to really ask why they do what they do. It is amazing what this exercise can do for an organization and the clarity it can bring to any future growth ideas.
Winning on Talent
The ongoing pandemic has shined a huge spotlight on any organization’s most precious asset—their people. Whether a company is a manufacturer in multi states, or a small service provider for the local community, business leaders are all looking to find, develop, and retain great individuals. Without people that believe in the company’s “why,” live the business’s values every day, and are committed to something bigger, very little can be accomplished. Before business owners can achieve growth in a traditional sense, they should first reflect on if their company has the right people in the best roles.
Today’s world is very interconnected and interdependent. Industries are rapidly changing. Customers’ needs and wants are evolving. And because of that, to remain relevant and thrive, organizations must be designed in a manner to change just as quickly. Whether it’s preventative maintenance on a key piece of machinery to make a customer deadline, or identifying an alternative raw material source to head off supply chain issues, building an organization around data and information puts business owners in a stronger position for growth.
Innovating and Investing for Tomorrow
Creating a culture of continuous improvement that breeds innovation and change are what can propel an organization to the next level. Whether its new product designs, a change in the customer experience, a state-of-the-art piece of technology, or lowering the company’s environmental footprint—great and growing companies never stop seeking ways to improve from yesterday. Thus, as leaders begin building out a strategic growth plan, they should ask how the company is bettering for tomorrow and in what specific ways.
Top Tier Financial Leadership
As business leaders round out a strategic growth plan, they need to evaluate how the company’s finance team will put the business in a position of strength throughout the journey. Today’s finance leaders are less about the debits and credits, and rather a key strategic component. Growth takes time, energy, and money. A strong finance team will be critical for managing cash flow, financial modeling, assessing return on investments, securing capital, and steering the organization around any financial headwinds that could slow growth.
Let’s Envision the Next Phase Together
Apple Growth Partners (AGP) is an award-winning accounting and business advisory firm, with more than 77 years of creative solutions that deliver healthy, sustainable growth. Our financial advisors live the mantra of Healthy Growth® and have the expertise to help privately held businesses reach the next level. AGP’s advisory team consists of professionals to help navigate the next phases of growth for all businesses, including M&A strategies, financial statement recasting, due diligence, buy and sell side Quality of Earnings, post-merger integration, and more. Discover how to achieve the next phase of growth – visit applegrowth.com/advisory.