How to accelerate in business. Without the speed wobble

Catherine Wijnberg talks about taking your business to the next level and some of the strategies that may help you get there.

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By Catherine Wijnberg

If you have the entrepreneurial gene in your body, you will want to know the secrets to acceleration – how to grow your business faster, expand wider and reach higher.

 

Perhaps the desire for this is inherent in our nature; it’s what I call the relentless discontent, that inner drive to constantly change and improve things.

 

Yet business acceleration is not without its dangers, and many have failed as they rush forward without planning and preparation.

 

Jim Collins’ book Great by Choice (it follows his famous Good to Great) examines businesses that have significantly outperformed the competition through disruptive times – much like these we are facing today. The evidence he presents shows that “slow and steady” is the best tactic for long-term success, now more than ever.

 

The critical elements of their success are that these great companies are consistent in their push to achieve their goals. They moderate highs and lows by never relaxing (or going wild) even when blessed with good luck and never despairing (or panicking) when hit by the inevitable bad luck.

 

The four behaviours they cultivate for this include a fanatical attention to discipline, including consistency in quality and method, change that is built on research evidence rather than emotion or gut feel, a healthy paranoia that ensures alternative plans are in place for all possible risk events and, importantly, an extreme, deep passion and energy to deliver on the vision of the company.

 

The tactics and tools these 10x companies use are the opposite of the “go big and go hard” strategies one would expect from a winning company. Instead, their success is built on setting and meeting consistent, year-on-year performance targets and avoiding massive gains and losses.

 

Conservative growth strategies that “fire bullets, then cannonballs” ensure that new product ideas are tested carefully and fully before being unleashed into the market. The old-fashioned strategy of retaining cash reserves means that waves of disruption can pass almost unnoticed and, lastly, rather than jumping from one great idea to another, these winning companies stick to their proven business recipe, values and principles consistently year after year.

 

In these times of social media and digital overload when we are daily assaulted by stories which make us feel less than and not enough, advice like this helps to inoculate us from the disease of self-doubt and keep us focused on our own mission.

 

Go forth and grow – but decide first if you want to grow a mighty oak that lives for 300 years, or a weed that grows fast but lasts for just one season, and then put in place a strategy to match.

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