Tips to drive growth

Growth prospects for all major economies are finally swinging upward in 2018, with International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts currently at 3.9% for the year. This rare synchronization of growth across the globe is boosting the growth ambitions of middle market companies, according to the findings of the EY Growth Barometer 2018. Private companies, as a key part of the startup and middle market, don’t just reflect this optimism, they amplify it and help drive economic success and innovation. Private companies comprise 80% of those middle market executives surveyed in the EY Growth Barometer.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, organic growth, whether that be expansion into new overseas geographies or into adjacent business sectors, dominates private company leaders’ growth strategies. To ensure they meet aggressive growth ambitions, they focus on finding the right talent, seeking out diversity and young talent with digital capabilities. Private company leaders are investing heavily in new technologies to deliver process efficiencies. These expansionist activities are putting a stress on cash flow, however, and ensuring sufficient working capital is a key challenge.

How can adapting an agile mindset fuel growth?

In today’s disruptive world, realizing your ambition and growing your business is an exciting challenge.

For over 30 years, EY teams have worked alongside many of the world’s most ambitious entrepreneurs to help them accelerate their journey to market leadership. We have learned a great deal from their successes and failures and have distilled these insights to create the EY 7 Drivers of Growth.

Using the wisdom of thousands of fast-growth companies – including EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winners – the EY 7 Drivers of Growth is a tried, tested and trusted framework that helps you to accelerate your journey to market leadership.

The 7 Drivers helps you unlock your full potential and realize your ambition, faster.

1. Customer

From the outset, leading businesses make customers their focal point. They understand that by putting customers’ needs and desires first, they can achieve a competitive advantage.

They know all about their customers, they anticipate their future needs, and they deliver customers’ preferred experiences to build loyalty and drive long-term sustainable growth.

Even after becoming market leaders, these businesses are constantly thinking about how to keep engaging and delighting their customers in all their markets.

2. People

Any organization is only ever as good as the people working for it. To win the war for talent, leading businesses build an environment that values diversity, and attracts and retains the right people to help grow their businesses — not just great people, but people who fit the company’s culture by sharing its purpose and vision.

Leading businesses connect their purpose and vision to their performance management and rewards strategy. They provide strong leadership and create an inclusive environment where differences are valued, and people can innovate to drive the business forward.

To fully realize their ambitions, businesses also invest in their employees, nurturing their talent and helping them develop skills to match the demands of the business during each different growth phase.

3. Technology

Technology is transforming every aspect of the business. It enables business leaders to make better, quicker and smarter decisions that respond to rapidly changing customer needs, improve business performance and manage risk.

Digital, technology and data analytics are all having a profound impact on businesses in every industry, presenting significant opportunities and challenges. Digital technologies are fundamentally changing how customers interact with these businesses and opening up new business models that embrace sector convergence.

Organizations that are successfully harnessing the power of technology are using AI and RPA to enhance human potential: enabling increased focus on innovation, creativity and strategic thinking and creating a powerful competitive advantage.

4. Operations

An organization’s operating model is the link between its strategic intent and the ability to deliver on that intent. Having a clear approach that aligns operations with strategy will increase a company’s ability to achieve success as they contend with changing customer needs and buying patterns, sector convergence, and new market entrants.

Market leaders drive a culture of continuous improvement, considering all aspects of operations at a macro and micro level. Focused on the details, they understand that every aspect of their business must hold up to scrutiny and be constantly improved to stay ahead of the pack.

Operations need to be highly flexible so they can adapt quickly to changing circumstances to seize business opportunities as well as mitigate key risks.

5. Finance

All businesses need funds to grow. How a business manages its money — and its new investors — will determine its course for the future.

Driven by their growth strategy, leading businesses determine the best financial approach at every stage, deriving maximum benefits from their management of available funds.

To achieve this, they transform their finance function into one that acts more strategically and commercially, where the CFO becomes an economic advisor who helps improve performance by delivering critical insights to decision-makers.

6. Transactions

Market-leading businesses rarely evolve by organic growth alone. To rise to the top, they seek successful partnerships and strategic acquisitions capable of enhancing their growth, competitiveness and profitability.

Leading businesses are quick to grasp the value of transactions and alliances in today’s dynamic markets. They appreciate that landing the right deal or finding the right partner is not about luck. They make a concerted effort to align their transactions and alliances to their overall growth strategy, remaining alert, building profile in their markets and positioning themselves to successfully seize opportunities as they arise.

7. Risk

Good risk management delivers reduced volatility within the business. There is a strong correlation between the maturity of risk management and both top- and bottom-line growth.

At every stage of a business’s growth, the ability to identify and manage risk stands out as a vital element of success. Market-leading businesses find the right balance between risk management and risk taking to navigate change and drive sustainable growth. 

The EY 7 Drivers of Growth is a framework that helps ambitious leaders think differently about their businesses and successfully deliver their growth strategy. A 7 Drivers session will help you assess your current capabilities relative to your future aspirations, gain insight into the practices of market-leading companies, clarify your strategic priorities, opportunities and challenges, build an action plan to help you achieve the next level of success, achieve consensus among your leadership team about the future of your business and how to get there and validate and refine your business strategy.