Many industries are currently seriously affected by coronavirus, putting companies under pressure to quickly revive their growth as soon as possible. Which fundamental growth strategies will help them through this crisis in the short term and operate profitably in the long term?

Companies and people react to life-threatening crises similarly: essentials take priority and anything not immediately necessary is reduced to a minimum.

“However, this survival automatism can involve a high risk for medium and long-term business success. Even if short-term priorities dominate in day-to-day business, the focus on growth is essential for survival,” says Helmut Kosa, Managing Partner of &US, a consultancy which advises companies in Europe on the subject of growth.

“For companies, it is now primarily a matter of maximising existing business in the short term, initiating transformation and gaining unused market share in the medium term, and creating innovations and new business models in the long term,” adds Erich Silhanek, also Managing Partner of the Vienna-based growth consultancy.

The following fundamental tips from the two experts will help identify growth blockers and quickly activate growth drivers:

1) Questioning the current situation: The basis of a growth strategy always includes ideal corporate positioning, including unique selling points. Many companies have great potential for improvement here. We should ask ourselves: What does the company stand for and what does it not stand for? Why should a customer buy from us? Why would an employee want to work here? The answers provide initial guidance on how the company’s positioning should be improved.

2) Deriving strategy and positioning from corporate vision and goals: Strategy and positioning are fundamental prerequisites for sustainable corporate growth. They create a sense of purpose for employees and enable the cross-departmental implementation of objectives. Both the internal view and the external view are relevant: positioning must be experienced internally and correspond to the goals. Products or services must be communicated to the outside world in such a way that a customer perceives the promised brand experience as consistent and authentic.

3) Investing in employees to build know-how and knowledge transfer: A learning organisation enables the targeted development of employees and promotes the development of knowledge and the transfer of skills. It forms the cultural basis for growth and creates space for innovation.

4) Making investment decisions based on data: In the area of conflict between restructuring and investing, many decisions are still made on the basis of gut instinct. However, important investment decisions should instead be informed by key company figures. In this way, progress toward achieving goals can be better monitored, and incentivising sales staff continuously adjusted.

5) Aligning sales and marketing: These two areas often pursue different goals and end up working against each other. This represents one of the biggest growth blockers in companies. By creating a basis for the targeted cooperation of sales and marketing, significant improvements in growth-relevant key figures can be achieved – shorter sales cycles, lower market entry costs, profit growth, and maximised company performance.

6) Putting the customer at the centre: Considering the changes in customer behaviour, it is important that they can be reached anytime and anywhere by means of eg. smartphones. It is essential to intelligently combine all available information from offline and online customer channels. In this way, customers are more likely to receive the right message at the right time in order to retain them and increase sales.

7) Developing the ability to react with agility to market changes: Organisations must be set up in terms of personnel, processes, management and control in such a way that they can quickly recognize changes in the market and develop creative solutions. Agile and innovation-oriented corporate structures can ensure long-term business success.

8) Growing successful companies from the core: Continuous feedback and comparison between short-, medium- and long-term change activities ensures continuous learning and the integration of the findings into daily business through ‘quick wins’. The transformation targets are regularly adapted to new conditions inside and outside the company to achieve profitable growth.

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