Sustaining Growth in a Troubled Economy

No matter where you are in the world, it’s no secret that the economy has been ailing over the past decade. However, as we survey the global marketplace, it is equally apparent that despite the economic downturn, many companies are prospering. This begs the question: How are those companies succeeding? What makes those companies distinct from organizations and companies that are barely treading water? The answer is simple: growth strategy.

The traditional thinking in business is to identify core business values and build upon those values for the long haul. However, in today’s market, companies must constantly re-tool and re-learn in order to stay abreast of emerging trends and shifting demands.

The instant reaction for most managers and executives is to try to anticipate new developments. Unless you have a “crystal ball,” this can be frustrating for even the most clairvoyant and astute business people.

And while forecasting is a worthwhile endeavor, the better practice is to build your organization’s capacity to deal with any number of new dynamics, no matter what the particular issue might be. In general, there are seven things that any corporation/organization can do to prepare for growth. For introductory purposes, we will list four:

1) Perform research. Companies and organizations never prosper by living in a vacuum. Re-learn what you think you know. Customers and businesses can be fickle in this day and age. Invest resources in understanding your current customers’ needs, and your future customers’ needs.

2) Visioning. Visioning is a “new-age” technique which allows an organization to visualize the best of all possible outcomes for their business. Visioning takes into account emerging trends and new developments, and helps people move from their “present state” to their “desired state.”

Successful businesses perform visioning using a number of economic or industry-related scenarios; they do not focus on just one idea. Companies that think comprehensively and anticipate multiple trends possess the requisite thoughtfulness and foresight to sustain profitable businesses.

3) Think systematically and holistically. Although businesses are successful because of their individual or unique niche, their ability to generate impact is driven by their connection to a larger narrative. For example, if you sell widgets, create a perspective that shows how your product attracts individuals, impacts a community, revolutionizes an industry, and changes the world. Demonstrate how your product, when coupled with other innovations, can create positive synergy and transform the customer experience.

4) Set boundaries and scope for your organization. When new trends manifest themselves, the temptation is to over-promise or over-indulge. This is analogous to the person who sees a food buffet and indulges, only to suffer from fatigue later. In managing your organization, be keenly aware of what you can do and what you cannot do. Make sure that any new developments that are undertaken are measureable, achievable, and commensurate with the size and scope of your company.

Ultimately, your responsibility is to position your company for growth, abundance, and greater prosperity. By adopting these techniques, your company will be poised for increased success in any economic climate.