Business growth is necessary to sustain itself over time
In 2019, for the fourth consecutive year, the number of companies created in Colombia increased. According to the statistics of the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras), 309,463 productive units were constituted, with an increase of 2.1% compared to 2018, when 303,027 were born.
This creation figure is encouraging and according to the president of Confecámaras, Julián Domínguez Rivera, it reflects the good economic moment in the country and the growing interest in formalization.
However, not all new companies are guaranteed to stay in the market. According to a recent study by Confecámaras, after 5 years of operation only 34 of the 100 registered firms survive. And the death rate is highest among small businesses.
Consequently, the future of these businesses will depend on their strategies to be bigger. But what does it mean to grow up?
“A company grows when it is able to give back more and more to shareholders, generate more jobs, gain market share and increase sales.” President of the Private Competitiveness Council (CPC), Rosario Córdoba Garcés.
Business growth is not just about increasing sales
According to experts, a protifable growth is the ability of organizations to generate value, therefore, it goes beyond increasing sales and implies providing differentiated offers to customers, generating quality employment, profitability for shareholders and sustainability.
There is a group of companies that have very high growth rates in certain periods of their life. The Organization for Economic Development Cooperation (OECD), to which Colombia belongs, defines high-performance companies as those that achieve year-on-year growth in employment and sales greater than 20% for at least three consecutive years.
“In that definition is the subset of companies called ‘gazelle’ that, being young (five or less years), achieve the same high growth rates,” adds the head of the CPC.
We ask ourselves then, what does it mean to grow?
According to the book Emprendedores en Crecimiento, derived from research carried out in 2015 by the Universidad de los Andes for iNNpulsa and Confecámaras, for a company to grow it is essential:
Change of mind: the manager needs “open mind and ambition to look beyond its borders”. This first challenge involves overcoming fears, wanting and believing that you can grow.
Networking: it is also key to be linked to support networks, such as the programs designed by the Chambers of Commerce of various cities to boost growth. Valle E and Valle Impacta, from the Cali Chamber of Commerce, and Crecer es Posible, from the Medellín Chamber of Commerce for Antioquia, are an example of these initiatives to promote the growth of entrepreneurs and businessmen, but there are also calls for entities such as iNNpulsa or non-governmental organizations such as Endeavor.
Relevant and sustainable strategy: business growth implies having a clear, solid and long-term business strategy that includes options if any of the tactics used does not give the expected result on time. According to experts, to take a leap in business, companies must also be highly productive and efficient, have a viable financial strategy and hire highly skilled human capital.
Use of new technologies: according to Córdoba, they must also use frontier technologies – renewable energy, biodegradable plastics, artificial intelligence and electric vehicles, among others -, know customers deeply and adapt quickly to the reality of the market.
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5 strategies to boost business growth
1. Design a business model that is scalable
To grow, it is essential to have a business model that can be replicated in other cities or in other business segments, in such a way that once the effectiveness has been proven in a certain place or with a particular customer niche, another can be reached. geographic market without having to make major adjustments. Digital applications and franchises, for example, are a sample of this type of strategy. If your knowledge and presence are essential in the business model, it will not be so easy to grow when opportunities arise unless you dedicate yourself to transferring knowledge to the work team and create a system that allows the standardization of production processes and customer service .
2. Focus on solving the need for massive audiences
This refers to choosing a market that offers a significant size because if the focus is on micro-niches it will be difficult to scalar the business. In these cases, growth would be generated by a high price of the product or service with the risk that this entails.
3. Integrate into powerful supply chains
In this case, it is about becoming a supplier to companies with a presence in different countries or with a very powerful distribution network, such as the D1 or Justo & Bueno type ‘hard discount’ chains, which will drive growth based on their own growth. . In these models, the risk is not having enough funds to leverage this accelerated growth that can be generated in a short time.
4. Have a high-performance management team
Although you must have high-level employees, it is key to set up boards of directors with people who have experience in internationalization and can contribute their ideas and knowledge to the company’s expansion plan. If the board does not already have this experience, it is feasible to have at least one mentor with the ability to guide growth strategies.
5. Incorporate innovation into the DNA of the organization
In the 4.0 economy, innovation is the key to overcome challenges, expand borders and meet customer needs. From day zero of the company, it is essential that innovation is on the table and allows creating effective communication networks with customers to detect changes in their preferences that can provide new business opportunities. The best source of information to innovate is your customers, so it is with them that you must dialogue on a daily basis to establish the next challenge.
Business growth is necessary to sustain a business over time. This growth exceeds the fact of selling more and implies that you incorporate innovation in your company, that you integrate into wide-ranging supply chains or that you focus on solving the needs of mass audiences.