Do You Have What It Takes to Run a High Growth Business?

There is a lot of interest these days about growth in the economy and providing support for High Growth Businesses.The latest is the GrowthAccelerator Programme, and the objective of this initiative is to drive employment growth.

This is based on one key statistic: high growth (read 20%+ per annum growth) businesses represent roughly 5% of all companies but drive about 50% of all employment growth.

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As the economy remains sluggish, more and more focus is going to be placed on these companies as they are our best chance of dragging ourselves out of the economic doldrums we find ourselves in. Being a high growth business is not easy, in fact it is a challenging environment in which to live. There are, none the less, a lot of ambitious business owners who would like to have a high growth business.

So what are the key things to have in place to give yourself the best chance of making it as a high growth business?

The first thing is ambition, no ambition, no growth it’s about as basic as it gets.

With ambition comes the drive and the will to change things and to take that step into the unknown.

Having some sort of vision for your business. It’s great if you can articulate it clearly and succinctly. A colleague of mine says that if you can’t describe your business (why you do what you do) in 10 seconds then you don’t understand it enough. I’m not sure I entirely agree as I have met many high growth business owners who are somewhat surprised to see themselves heading such businesses. Nevertheless knowing where you are going and why you are going there will provide a focus to your activities.

Third is leadership and the ability to inspire others, be they your staff or customers. You act as a lightning rod for their ambitions and desires and so carry them forward. Even when things look dark and foreboding people will follow you as you can convince them that this is the right way. You create loyalty amongst your staff and customers which is necessary to underpin long term high growth.

Fourth and lastly, at least in my book, is Management. The high growth environment is relentless in its pursuit of weaknesses in a business. To survive and be successful you need to have the talent in your management team to take the business forward. This is particularly relevant as the business owner will become more and more remote to the business detail as it grows and will become increasingly reliant on his management team to deliver the goods.

This list is by no means exhaustive but these are, for me at least, the key attributes that a company needs to be successful as a high growth business. What do you think?

NB: This publication reflects the views of the author.

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