Blog Category: Organic Growth

Have you separated your “farm animals” from your “jungle animals”?

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If you ran a zoo, you’d keep your jungle animals and farm animals in separate enclosures, right? Your technology development projects are untamed, jungle animals: You don’t completely understand them, and you’re not sure what they’ll do or where they’ll go next. Your product development projects are predictable farm animals. You know what they’re supposed to do, and who they’re supposed to do it for.

When you commercialize technology, you are “domesticating” wild animals for productive purposes. As a first step, you must be crystal clear which type of project your scientists or engineers are working on at any point in time. Remember, technology development turns money into knowledge; product development turns knowledge back into money. You can learn more from this white paper, Commercialize technology in 6 foolproof steps.

More in this 2-minute video, How to pursue transformational projects

Have your observed first-domino fixation and first-domino amnesia?

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When you change a system, you always have a second-order effect. You can’t tip just one domino. Freeze discretionary spending this quarter and you’ll slow dozens of projects, as teams wait to run outside lab tests, hire technicians, interview customers, etc. Product launches are pushed back, delaying future growth. Otherwise-bright business leaders suffer from first-domino fixation over and over.

And most don’t learn from it. How often have you heard, “Well, our growth problem is all those crazy spending freezes the last few years”? Never? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I call this first-domino amnesia.

More in 2-minute video, Avoid the pitfalls of 2nd order effects

Have you ever experienced the Commodity Death Spiral?

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Here’s how the Commodity Death Spiral works: First, you stop innovating and offer me-too products that are interchangeable with competitors’. This lets purchasing agents demand lower pricing, which lowers your profits. Now it’s budgeting time and your boss wants higher—not lower—profits, so you must reduce costs. You cut R&D and marketing since you don’t need them this year. Of course, you’ll have even less new product development capability next year.

Eventually, you reach the point of no return, and your business dies… or goes on “life support” and is no longer relevant. Sadly, many businesses are on this downward spiral right now, and either don’t know it, or don’t want to admit it. They need a wake-up call, or the employees in that business will suffer.

More in this 2-minute video, Avoid the commodity death spiral

How long does it take you to commercialize new technology?

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In 1965, DuPont scientist Stephanie Kwolek synthesized the first Kevlar polymer, an amazing fiber with five times the strength of steel. DuPont invested several hundred million dollars to commercialize the technology for tire cords, with disappointing results. It would be another decade before the company found its first major market for this material: bullet-proof vests.

How well does your company commercialize technology? Want to do it faster, more efficiently, and with greater confidence? You can, with six steps outlined in this white paper, Commercialize technology in 6 foolproof steps.

More in this 2-minute video, How to pursue transformational projects

Consider a 3-step plan to build your growth capabilities.

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If you hired a great “business growth” coach, she’d probably have you follow the same plan as a golf or football coach: 1) objectively assess your current capabilities, 2) develop a comprehensive improvement plan, and 3) track your progress in improving these capabilities.

Why not follow this same approach for building your organic growth capabilities? Step 1 can be a free diagnostic of your business’s growth capabilities at www.b2bgrowthdiagnostic.com, which benchmarks your business against others on 24 growth drivers. You can then run this free diagnostic annually. The key word here is capabilities: Too many leaders fixate only on results, forgetting that capabilities drive results.

More in 2-minute video, Build your growth capabilities

Don’t get the math wrong on your company’s stock price.

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If your company has a P/E ratio of 20, only 5% of its value comes from this year’s performance (that is, your earnings this year). The other 95% comes from the market’s expectations of your company’s future: That’s all that’s left.

So business leaders probably spend 95% of their time where the value is… ensuring future growth will be rapid, profitable and sustainable, right? Ummh… well… not so much. Strangely enough, many management teams fixate on this year’s results. You say your investors won’t let you think past this year? What about Amazon, that took 7 years to turn a profit? Warren Buffet said, “Companies obtain the shareholder constituency that they seek and deserve.”

More in this 2-minute video, Shareholder wealth is a poor goal

How many “builders” do you know?

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A builder is someone who drives business growth by delivering real value to customers, brushing aside fads, short-term distractions, and financial gymnastics. Others are remodelers, improving efficiency, quality & costs…but if nothing new is built, they lead a race to the bottom. Others are decorators, trying to boost “curb appeal,” as they focus on quarterly financials. They’re engaged in a spectator sport, not a participant sport. Finally, some are realtors, reaping their rewards during M&A… when the work of others’ hands changes hands.

Does this mean you should forget about operational efficiency, financial reporting, or M&A? Of course not. But what is your passion? For the builder, it’s delivering customer value and driving organic growth over the years.

More in this 2-minute video, Be a business builder

What’s the first duty of any business leader?

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I believe the first duty of any business leader is this: “Leave your business stronger than you found it.” I’m unimpressed by leaders who prioritize short-term results and stock prices to the point of degrading growth capabilities and sacrificing the future. I’m mystified when companies enrich a business leader today who is working to impoverish the business tomorrow.

What your business really needs is a builder… someone who brushes aside financial gymnastics and business fads. Someone focused on created value for customers that delivers organic growth for their business. For more, see the 2-minute video, Be a business builder. Also consider a new metric, the Growth Driver Index, which measures how well a business leader is investing in long-term growth capabilities.

See white paper, New Innovation Metrics.

Your business growth works like an extruder.

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Extruder Die: This “output” represents your financial results. Fast-moving, high-quality output is like top-line growth and profitability. Feed Hopper: These are market-facing innovation projects supported by customer insight. Drive Screw: This is the work needed to transform the feed into high-value products, done by skilled, focused people.

The only way to get better extruder die output is to focus on the feed hopper input and drive screw horsepower. Watching the extruder die is just a spectator sport. Which is precisely what you’re engaged in during financial reviews. Wouldn’t you rather be in a participant sport? Then go to your feed hopper, and work on new products customers will love. See 2-minute video, Extend your time horizon.

More in article, B2B Organic Growth: 8 top lessons for leaders.

4 Steps to joining the Reliable Growth Club

Reliable growth is elusive, especially for companies pursuing quarterly shareholder appeasement. Join the Reliable Growth Club through B2B customer insight.

Here’s the scene: You are a B2B business leader unhappy with your membership in the Shareholder Appeasement Club and its quarterly meetings. You want profitable, reliable growth so you are free to captain your ship, not some Wall Street analysts. But what should you do—not in the abstract—but in concrete, actionable steps? Before exploring admission ... Read More

The third type of growth is hard… but essential.

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Your growth rate has three hidden components: Inherited Growth (from past employee’s innovations), Market Growth (from matching market growth using average innovation) and Earned Growth. You only accomplish the latter by doing a better job than competitors in understanding and meeting customer needs. Every year, purchasing agents and competitors work hard to commoditize your products. So every year you need to earn your growth. It’s the only way to rise above “mediocrity.” And who wants that? See 2-minute video, How much growth did you earn?

More in article, Own the Future with B2B Customer Insight

Top-quartile growth comes from top-quartile capabilities.

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Do you want serendipitous growth each year… or superior, sustainable organic growth you can count on year after year? For the latter, you’ll need improved capabilities—training, methods and tools—across your organization in many areas. We’ve identified 24 of these “growth drivers” in our research, What Drives B2B Organic Growth. You can see your percentile benchmark rank against others on all 24 with our free B2B Growth Diagnostic. It’s the first step on the road from serendipity to sustainability.

More in article, Is it time for a growth capability diagnostic assessment?

How to Ensure Top-Quartile Growth in a B2B Business

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How do you accelerate the organic growth of a business? And can you be confident your growth will outpace most competitors? For B2B businesses today—and the foreseeable future—the answer is yes. The steps you must take are surprisingly low-cost, simple, and ignored by most. To succeed, you need a new mindset, new capabilities, and new ... Read More

Business leaders should train like champions in any other endeavor.

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Be it chess or golf, champions know they must train. A striking difference between business leaders and rock climbers is that the former often think they can reach the top without proper training. Imagine showing up at the base of El Capitan with recliner-chair abs, the wrong gear, and no climbing skills. Ridiculous? What about businesses that proclaim double-digit growth plans year after year, but do nothing to prepare for their climb? A good start is acquiring business-wide training and tools for market-facing innovation. (See 2-minute video, Build your growth capabilities.)

More in article, New Product Training: Time to Build Growth Muscles