All of us work towards growth but only a few understand the term in its true essence. Growth is not merely the y-o-y increase in revenues but instead, it is the cumulative increase in your business value and/or its capacity to create value. But before proceeding further, we need to delineate growth strategies from day-to-day activities. Operations are merely the activities required for sustenance of business whereas, growth strategy is a business project undertaken to build capacity or increase value.
For instance, diverting resources to marketing channels with higher ROI is a part of operational improvement whereas, creating a new marketing mix and team training is part of growth project. One may also undertake program consisting of multiple projects towards a common goal, such as ‘reducing customer churn rate’ through development of feedback systems, product enhancement, new packaging and so on, whereas a mere introduction of discount is just an operational counter measure.
These projects may be limited to a particular department such as procurement; to reduce costs and lead time, one may undertake a project to develop new supplier network or involve cross functional staff for operational improvement projects requiring organisational re-structuring and workflow streamlining. The project outcome may not necessarily be a product, it can a system or protocol such as new marketing mix, systems that become inputs to support or improve operations.
But just like any other project, one should first develop the business case followed by establishment of scope, cost and schedule baselines. These three baselines form the iron triangle to keep your project on track; in larger organisations cost baselines may also be referred as departmental budget allocated towards improvement. Financial baselines may be amalgamated with the annual financial projections to understand the cash flow requirements and effect on income statement.
To successfully realise business project, you will also need to define deliverables along with required activities, followed by estimation, acquisition and allocation of resources, plan and control quality, identify and assess risks, control risks, develop contingency plans and finally close out, including project delivery – induction into operations. All these lead to realisation of business projects.
*Note: Quality not the superiority of a product but it is the ability of a product or service to satisfy the stated or implied needs. For instance, if requirement is merely telephone and emails, an old BlackBerry may still be of good quality whereas an iPhone X of higher grade may not be of any better quality.
The most crucial aspect is the development of business case and deliverable definition. In larger organisations, these are drafted by business analysts whereas in smaller organisations these can be developed by the management in association with consultants. This is followed by the development of the detailed plan along with baselines that serve as guidelines for planning and execution.
Larger organisations may have inhouse management consultants to expedite such projects in association with task force or matrix type project organisation formed with personnel from management and concerned departments. Smaller organisations may hire third party consultants like Apex Zenith to facilitate business growth projects.
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