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What’s So Hard about Growth?
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016
Are Branding and Customer Loyalty in Decline
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Established Brands Beware! Opportunities for Growing Companies!

Conventional wisdom holds that you need to build a trusted brand to get people to spend their money, and that establishing a brand is notoriously expensive. Branding generally includes increasing awareness and name recognition through heavy advertising.

Best Practices-Adapt or Adopt
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

When instituting a new process or upgrading an existing one, first identify “best practices,” that is: the gold standard for performing that practice. Best practices are a way to borrow processes from others who have learned from multiple iterations and have instituted a practice that yields positive results…

Business Process Automation to Enable Growth
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

What and Why?
Technology enables the automation of activities or services that accomplish specific functions or improve workflow. Business processes exist for many operational aspects of company activities, and leaders planning for their companies’ growth frequently ask me if they should consider automating some …

Business Strategy is Often Limited by Company Structure
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Companies can research and develop strategies that, in theory, would dominate a market, but not every company can execute a most-desired strategy, such as companies limited by how they are structured and how they function. For example, a company with many layers for securing approval to take action….

Classic Strategic Marketing- The Ansoff Matrix
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Middle-market businesses need simple ways to consider strategic market options. A simple and effective, compact tool is the Ansoff matrix, a simple, 2×2 matrix that guides planners in developing options.Basically, it provides four options that are dependent on two variables: developing new products and entering….

First Choose a Strategy, and Only Then Adapt
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

I spend a lot of time studying new business ideas, then figuring out how to apply that knowledge to my clients in the middle market. Recently, I came across an interesting debate online about approaches to strategy shifts where the rapid rate of changes in markets and technology suggest “strategy resets” Here is my assessment….

Growing May Require Organizational Change
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

I like retelling the story of my conversation with the head of a marketing group for MCI, the long-distance telephone carrier. (Remember those?) Before embarking on a project, I asked to see an organizational chart. The response: “We have not updated it since the last reorganization.”
Undaunted, I asked for an…..

Growth Can be Hazardous to Your Health
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Growing sales and profit can push companies to the brink

In working with clients across a range of growth scenarios, I have found that successfully growing businesses experience unintended consequences of success. It’s a good challenge to face, of course, but it can…

Alliances: Beyond Organic Growth
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

On the one hand, companies attempt to focus on becoming leaner, more efficient and concentrate on their core business. On the other hand, growth opportunities may demand that companies go well out of their core business comfort zones to reach distant markets, employ new technologies and adopt….

Innovators versus Imitators: Who Wins?
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Much of business media celebrates innovators for developing the next new thing.  However, imitators, not innovators, usually generate the greatest value from the innovation. A broad study determined that imitators capture a whopping 98% of the total value of an innovation.We have been socialized to consider….

Metrics-Driven Marketing
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Those of us who got education and training in marketing more than 10 years ago are likely having a “Rip Van Winkle” experience as we try to grasp how marketing has changed in that period due to the impact of the internet and then more recently social media apps. Though the same ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) is….

Avoiding “Groupthink,” With a C.I.A. Hat Tip
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Gathering information and making quick decisions are at the core of management. Entrepreneurial companies welcome new ideas. But as the companies grow, they may be less accepting of initiatives that challenge the status-quo thinking. Status-quo thinking, also called a “company culture,” can be harmful….

Self-Education; Growing in Importance
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

There is an age-old argument of school smarts versus street smarts; that is, theory versus practice. In a provocative book, The Education of Millionaires, Michael Ellsberg argues that, especially in the ever-flattening world, formal education as a ticket to success is less of the sure thing it once was….

Staffing for Growth: A New Paradigm in Hiring
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

One of the most vexing challenges for growing companies is how to deal with people – both current and new employees. While some of the former have the skills and are ready to increase or change their scope of responsibilities, others may resist. Reassigning existing employees who are not up to the task….

Surprises Make You Stronger
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

A popular Kelly Clarkson song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger,” contains the age-old message that dealing with adversity builds resilience and character. A more in-depth and nuanced understanding of this notion is presented in a recent book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things….

Can You Tell Me About Your Market?
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked one question and received off-target responses. The question: Can you tell me about your market?

The question and the answers lie in a lack of understanding of what a market is….

The Marketing Department alone is not Responsible for “Branding”
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

When companies want to establish a “Brand”, it conjures up the advertising-driven practice of brute-force, repetitive, mind-drilling messages.  However, a brand is not limited to an image that a company wants to project, but in the mind of the customer, it is a subjective view of the combination of all….

Understanding Workplace Automation
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Working for many years in the commercial aviation industry, I witnessed profound changes in automation at almost every level. Ticketing counters gave way to self-service check-in kiosks. Passport control is dominated by document scanning, rather than human observation. Pilots manually control aircraft for only…..

Why Do Business Planning if the Plan Will Change?
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Those who have worked with me have undoubtedly heard me say that “a business plan is good for only the first 10 minutes.” The reason is that once execution starts, business leaders learn new things that cause them to consider deviating from the original plan. The reason for planning is not necessarily only to….

Actively Manage the Customer Experience
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

It is obvious that there are marked differences in how companies manage or mismanage customers’ experiences. A once-intimate customer experience can get “lost in the sauce” as the company becomes larger and more complex….

With Growth, Companies Have Different Leadership Needs
on Wednesday, 02.05.2016

Congratulations! You conceived of a business, started it and grew it. The business is continuing to grow in size and complexity.

Question: Are you still the appropriate person to lead it?

Leadership skills can grow with a business, or not, and in dealing with growing companies, this is one….