The Big Audacious Question: How will you grow your company beyond 2020?
There are no magic tricks for growth, it’s hard work but small steps work wonders!
The Oct 9, 2014 article by Fortune Magazine contributor @GilPress notes “By 2017, says Gartner, a significant disruptive digital business will be launched that was conceived by a computer algorithm. The most successful startups will mesh the digital world with existing physical logistics to create a consumer-driven network—think Airbnb and Uber—and challenge established markets consisting of isolated physical units.”
What, I ask, is an existing mature or growing company to do? First, don’t panic, there are strategies. Second, an all or nothing approach will most likely not work. There are, however, a few some simple steps you can take to begin integrating new ideas, new technologies and new ways of thinking into your company. Most of us don’t have magic algorithms lying around!
You might start by asking yourself a few important questions.
feeling anxious about your talent having the skills needed for the future?
nervous because the trends are moving faster than you on your motorcycle or Porsche?
confident that your current talent pool is adept to change, technically competent, data centric, customer savvy and highly capable leading the way through complex data-driven environments?
understanding of your company’s risk tolerance index? (Download helpful information ( pdf): Gameday Organizational Health Check )
currently encouraging positive risk taking?
What’s a company to do? A lot! Below are a few tips to help on the way to discovering new growth opportunities beyond 2020:
Intensely focus on PEOPLE! ( your team, your customers, your suppliers and key vendors and your partners). To quote Gary Vaynerchuk “Care about your employees more than you ask them to care about you or your company” People will remain a critical part of your company’s future. Empower and developing them as leaders will continue to be important. These leaders need to have a strong grasp on trends, customers, customer experience and markets as well as technologies.
Think Global, Act Local! The global opportunities are mega size. So many countries are just starting their path to growth which means there will be no lack of need for products you have to offer. Uber and Airbnb like Facebook and Google were not global day one. Consider the need to be globally ready: Translations, country localization, trusted partners are all part of a product roadmap whether you are launching a disruptive new toothbrush or a self-directed flying car or the next iteration of Uber international readiness will be increasingly important.
Learn, educate and develop your people! Did I say this already? “Care about your employees more than you ask them to care about you or your company” Nurture their growth. It will pay big dividends.
Hold “Today is Tomorrow” Immersion Days! Talk about your company as though it were in theSpacex age of vacation travel! Paint pictures, charts and futuristic experiences with your teams. Take current trends and place them in your today is tomorrow’s company vision. Consider the rise of Exponential Technologies ( see article from @wired ) moving at the speed of a SpaceX blastoff! One for the lesson books is SpaceX travel which has changed everything we knew about space exploration. The concept of global vacationing has also changed… consider that space travel will one day be the vacation for those that can afford it. What changes or needs does commercialization of space travel and exploration create for companies not in the space business? Consider all the needs a space traveler vacationing to space might have; comfort clothing, gadgets, apps, cool helmets? This is a monster sized task of course but in simple terms, space exploration for only the highly educated and trained astronaut is transforming (with a great deal of collaboration, capital and engineering) into a new world of opportunities.
Build your case and learn to sell ideas inside your company! Learn how to better justify and present your ideas to get buy-in internally from your peers and from the executive committee. This is no small act. Whether the idea is to add a simple highly requested requirement that would change the product or services opportunity outlook significantly or a big idea that becomes a complete overhaul of current product or its a net new product offering. These ideas go nowhere fast without the proper business justifications and the rallying of an internal support team!
Hold internal reverse pitches! Anyone can pitch to any manager and any manager can pitch to anyone in the company to gain insights, feedback and support. Invite outside experts to pitch day and have them share new ideas. Well worth the spend if your company finds a golden nugget out of the day.
In the end, you still have to answer the age old question: What’s in it for your customer, your peers, your management team and of course your company! But there is more help than ever today with the rise of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. I leave you with this question: How will you leverage these new technologies in your strategies toward growth 2020 and beyond?
Follow Teresa Spangler @composerspang or @plazabridge. Teresa often speaks on trends, disruptive technologies, innovation and adoption and converting innovation into sales. She is the author of the Game of Life Book Series, a contributing author to American Express’s OpenForum.