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Good Growth Choices

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Staffan Engstrom

Choosing where to focus your efforts to grow the business is one of the hardest that you must make as a business leader. I have worked with many different kinds of business over the years, and have noticed three common pitfalls:

  • No new business development. This occurs for one of two reasons: where the original innovation and energy that got the business going has itself gone; and where short term profit considerations override those for future investment (some have called this the ‘too-many-accountants’ malaise).
  • Too many business growth ideas. This can happen with creative people who have so many ideas that there is no decent chance for any of them to succeed. Management doesn’t have the bandwidth or resources to drive everything, so even great ideas lie fallow (I call this the ‘not-enough-good-accountants’ malaise).
  • Ill-considered business growth ideas. This is usually where the growth ideas are not aligned with the core competencies of the organisation. The ideas may be brilliant, but the organisation is the wrong one to take them forward. As a result, many of the growth initiatives are doomed to failure from the start.

It is management’s role to keep the development of new business focused into those areas where they have a decent chance of success. This is not by avoiding new business innovation, but by focusing on developing new areas that are at least adjacent to the skills of the core business. A tool that I find can help a lot in the process of choosing where to develop is called Ansoff’s Matrix. See the attached White Paper for how to use it.