Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
In Fast Growth: How to Attain It, How to Sustain It, Laurence G. Weinzimmer combines real-world consulting experiences with his extensive research and revolutionary insights to present the three growth drivers common to high-performance companies: leadership, market factors, and effective strategy. Fast Growth features profiles from Fortune 500 Companies, Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies and Business Week’s Hot Growth Companies.
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Should I Stay or Should I GrowIt's 2:00 AM. You are lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, a bead of sweat running down your forehead as you think about the challenges and pressures your business must overcome. Maybe you're faced with technologies evolving at astronomical rates or a changing competitive landscape. Your business has to react at lightning speed-better yet innovate-or you will find yourself following in the footsteps of a competitor poised to jump on these opportunities.
The bar has been raised. Ideas that worked in the past are now obsolete. There is constant pressure to come up with new ways to look at old problems. It seems as though that dreaded phrase "do more with less" has worked its way into almost every business meeting.
Managers at every level in every business are feeling the heat. Companies are running faster races to beat the competition. Maintaining market share and survival aren't good enough anymore. And there is a rallying cry for successful businesses to achieve sustainable growth-what used to be the exception is now the rule. If you want to increase profitability, shareholder value, and longevity, you either grow or die.
In a recent study at the University of Minnesota, a group of executives and MBAs identified growth as the single most important indicator of business success.' Growth is exciting and fast paced. Aggressive, high-energy businesses thrive and become growth champions. Numerous success stories abound of all types of businesses that literally came from nowhere and transformed themselves into industry leaders. Companies such as Amazon.com, Dell Computer, Starbucks, Netscape, and Wal-Mart are excellent examples. It's not surprising that many executives find growth to be luring and provocative. But growth is also risky, challenging to pursue, and hard to attain without losing balance. So many choose to sit on the sidelines, shying away from opportunities because of deep-seated uncertainties associated with the risks of growth.
Bob Nourse, former CEO of the Bombay Company, had a good take on the relationship between risk and growth when he stated in Business Quarterly, "Risk is where opportunities to earn money are. The job in growing a company is to manage risk." He did exactly that. In less than a decade, he grew his specialty furniture business from a single store to over 200 stores. And although there are risks associated with growth, there is arguably more risk associated with stagnation.
So how do they do it? How do seemingly ordinary businesses catapult themselves to the top? Better yet, if a company is fortunate enough to establish a satisfactory level of growth, why does it maintain the momentum of sustainable growth while other companies don't? Well, here it is in less than ten words:
All you have to do is identify key growth opportunities and position your business to capitalize on them. It's that simple . . . it's that complex. But how can we recognize these opportunities? What do they look like? Once we identify these opportunities, how do we decide if the benefits outweigh the risks? Moreover, how do we prepare ourselves to exploit them? Do we even want to exploit them? Bottom line, why do some businesses grow and others don't when faced with the same situation? You'll find the answers in the following pages.
Why Any Business Can Grow
Let me assure you that achieving fast growth is attainable for any business, small or large, manufacturing or service, regardless of the dynamics of your industry. And you will be glad to know that successful growth does not play favorites. It is not reserved for only the most brilliant business minds. Any manager, with the right set of tools, can create sustainable, valuedriven growth in his or her business. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula-no 100 percent rules for growth (or for any other aspect of business). Fortunately, the answer lies in certain fundamental ideas and approaches that are teachable and have been proven effective time and time again. But that's not enough. Growth for growth's sake can actually create new problems and unforeseen headaches. Fast growth is attractive only when it can be translated into bottom-line profits and value creation.
How can I be so sure? Over a decade ago I decided to dedicate my career to understanding how businesses grow...