By Darren Shirlaw

As we’ve discussed above, if you’ve just entered your second brick wall you are going to need to move fast to maximize your opportunities for economic recovery.

You need to act now to get out of that wall and into advanced growth. That’s the most productive stage when your business makes the most money and builds its equity valuation.

It’s also when you are less stuck in the business. It will be the time you most enjoy since way back in the very early days.

The trick to shifting into advanced growth is to get your timing to coincide with economic recovery. And there are FIVE things to focus on to make this happen.

The first two on the list deliver the critical platforms most businesses miss, while the next three activities leverage your business for advanced growth.

1. Capacity management Identify the manageability of your production process in capacity terms. This applies whether you’re a service or manufacturing company and ensures smooth transition from one growth platform to the next.

2. Capability management Recruit people with the right capabilities to release the business owners.

3. Position Create product positions for your business operation, which is where product innovation and IP development kick in.

4. Channels Find new, fresh product channels to market. Consider exploiting new market niches you didn’t explore in the previous boom.

5. Succession strategy

a. Internal succession: bring through new staff who will release the owners.
b. Equity succession: enables business owners to take some money off the table.

Warning. Entering advanced growth without succession planning usually means the owners become stuck. This often happens when they can’t bring capable staff through because their equity structures aren’t attractive.

The absence of a succession strategy usually results in the business entering a plateau phase, or even decline, instead of advanced growth.

Manoeuvring through flat lands

Some theorists worry the economy will go into an extended flat phase — so no real recovery. But an inherent recovery always lurks inside a flat phase.

A flat economy simply means less GDP growth than during a boom and the flat line is essentially an average of many business ups and downs.

Under this macro flat line is the micro business situation; some businesses are stalled and some are in decline — but some are booming.

A flat line economy doesn’t mean everyone is flat-lined. For all the companies going backwards, some have gone forwards.

The way to manoeuvre through a flat phase, at an early stage in economic recovery, is through micro-niche marketing.

Find your product niche and get it out to the booming parts of the market. In other words, identify who has the cash out there- and go get it!

Remember the recession is a mixed picture. While the average employee probably hasn’t had a pay rise, their cost of living has actually reduced enormously. Mortgage rates and retail price reductions through sales events have all improved their net position.

Meaning more cash available for products and services.

“Creating a clear position around your markets is essential right now and effective descriptions will attract customers”

Clear market position

Creating a clear position is essential right now. Effective descriptions will attract customers. Broad statements such as, “We sell Brand X” isn’t good enough. You must have focused statements such as, “We sell Brand X to Generation Y.”

Find your niche and sell into it.

Armed with this approach, you don’t have to be one of those flat line businesses. You can have an advanced growth business instead.

Draw a line and move on!

Saying, “We’re still in a recession” will tether you to the past, because the Great Recession only lasted until 2009.

The Big Down is now over.

But even if the economy double dips, the second dip will simply go down and then climb into recovery.

Bringing on the double-dip would almost be a blessing because we could then predict the timing of the boom.

Stop worrying about the last few years and face the market with a positive construct. Draw a line in the sand and start looking forward from today to see what’s coming in the future.

Taking that approach will energise your business — and you — ready for advanced growth.

Lots of businesses have been pushed into the second brick wall by the Great Recession. Maybe you’re one of the many restructuring your organisation right now.

But, if you are, consider that just restructuring the staff, P&L and cash flow isn’t going to be enough for you to take advantage of the next boom.

Timing is everything.

Shirlaws is an international business performance and coaching company. We help business owners achieve their business and life objectives. Our programmes have changed the lives of thousands of business owners all over the world by removing barriers to growth and ensuring their business pays them richly in money and time. What Shirlaws brings is a language and system for growing businesses and building internal capability. A language and system that gives our clients three simple things: more time, more money, and less stress. Founded in 1999 Shirlaws has now grown to include operations in North America, UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Our coaches take the many complex issues involved in running a business and help make them simple and easier to manage. We work alongside clients to guide their businesses to achieve long-term, profitable and sustainable business growth.

To find out more you can download our new book for free at www.shirlawscoaching.co.uk


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