In a world where information is shared with the click of a mouse, it’s difficult for business leaders and employers to separate out the necessary from the noise. Most companies that fail to grow lose sight of the their big goals in favor of focusing on the noisy daily survival tasks at hand— they juggle all the data without taking strategic action toward big growth. Successful companies, however, invest time and manpower in following growth strategies to transform lofty goals into success.
The LEGO Group is an example of a company with a creative growth strategy. In 2012 the LEGO Group increased its revenue by 25% to USD 4,040—marking the fifth consecutive year in which LEGO delivered year over year revenue growth in excess of 15%. How did LEGO achieve this unprecedented growth? They created a flexible growth strategy that relied heavily on a combination of product innovation and real time responses to changing industry needs. For example, more than 60 percent of LEGO groups 2012 sales were new product launches in response to their consumer’s need. LEGO crafted more than half their product launches in real time response to their user’s experience. LEGO strategically built in communications channels—like user websites and innovations contests, with the goal of anticipating user’s wants and needs.1 This flexible ability to create and launch new products rapidly created a significant production challenge, and a risk of bottlenecking. However, an additional part of LEGO’s strategy was to locate factories close to the markets in Europe and North America, paving the way for smoother distribution.2
LEGO achieved brilliant growth because their growth strategy included a built-in-plan to innovate in response to their markets while at the same time buffering the challenges associated with risky innovation. None of this growth would have happened if LEGO did not first stop and ask the right questions, using the answers to craft a winning growth strategy.
Ask the right questions:
What are your growth goals / objectives?
First things first. You need to know where you are going before you create a map to get you there.
Does your company have a current growth strategy in place?
What does it look like?
If you have a strategy, what areas of your strategy are working? Why?
Identifying what works can help you achieve future success—perhaps illuminating an effective technique or innovative idea that had previously flown under the radar.
If you have a strategy, what areas of your current plan are not working? Why?
Identifying what doesn’t work is arguably the best place for you to start. Understanding what doesn’t work leads you to discovering what does work.
If you don’t currently have a growth strategy, what is preventing you from taking the first step?
Identifying the obstacle / fear holding you back can help you go from “thinking about it” to actually doing it. Weigh the risk versus reward of trying something new, and you may see that ‘new and scary, but could lead to major results’ is better than ‘old, known, and definitely not working.’
Do you have an effective way to measure the success of your goals?
One of the most popular techniques is the S.M.A. R. T system, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Evaluating what actions help you and what actions hinder your progress is the difference between getting stuck in the middle of the journey and crossing the finish line to success.
How does your brand affect growth? How does it affect each department (sales, marketing, management, etc.)?
Have you given thought to how your story—your brand and your values—affect real time action throughout your organization? Some business leaders are surprised to learn they have members on their team who don’t know the purpose behind their company—they don’t know the why behind the what. These employees often fail to align their own goals and actions with the overall goal of the company, leading to communication breakdowns and inefficiencies. Highly productive and effective employees, on the other hand, are motivated employees who align their own dreams with the company objectives to achieve mutual success.
How does your brand affect your customers, clients, and prospects?
LEGO ‘s successful growth strategy reflected their understanding of their brand’s relationship to the user experiences across all their audiences—from preschool to nostalgic adult. Your brand is the marriage of your story, your mission, and your user experience. Do you have open communication channels with your customers, clients, and prospects to give you real time insight into how your brand is perceived outside your walls? Successful companies listen to their users and use the information to make their customer experience better.
At Initial Design Group we believe that business growth is truly a creative endeavor. It’s a perfect blend of magic and science, a vision and a plan, the linear and non- linear working together to help you achieve success. Growth is our wheelhouse and we work with our clients at every stage to create actionable plans for success. To learn more, contact us today.