David Palmer, PHD Global Business Lead

David Palmer, PHD Global Business Lead

Sustainable growth is one of the biggest challenges that any business leader faces. Without innovative products, distribution channels that evolve, and operating models which remain in constant touch with consumer change, achieving long-term growth in a fast-paced digital world is incredibly difficult.

That said, the fundamentals for sustainable growth are the same as they’ve ever been. These are the core basics that all entrepreneurial start-ups adopt in order to disrupt categories and influence consumer behaviour.

Here are six essentials that large corporations must prioritise in order to compete:

 

1. Brand

Build strong brand equity and emotional connections that link customers to your product, then sustain them over time. Be clear on your target customers and be clear on what the long-term value exchange needs to be. Without a clear, fresh, relevant brand identity, it will be difficult to sustain growth in the long-term.

 

2. Innovate

Learn to innovate at speed across all aspects of the business. Companies that disrupt can completely transform customer expectations, alter competitive landscapes or transform sector economics as a whole.

Disruption rarely comes from direct competitors. It comes from left field and is therefore hard to foretell. Implementing and investing appropriately into a programme of innovation allows a business to better predict changes in consumers and react to technological opportunities.

 

3. Incubate

Start afresh by incubating elements of a business. Only by conducting a thorough review can you assess how scrappy and efficient your brand has become. For companies with significant heritage, there could be legacy habits that are restricting growth and agility. If ways of working are assessed and reviewed from the ground up in an incubated environment, the subsequent improvements can quickly translate into long-term platforms for growth.

 

4. Culture

Culture can’t be built; it must be earned. Employees need to feel empowered to change the culture of a company from within. They need to feel safe to admit that they need more varied knowledge and skills in a rapidly changing world. They need a sense of empowerment to make decisions quicker and have a greater sense of confidence in the face of change.

 

5. Partnerships & Collaboration

In order to go toe-to-toe with tech-driven scrappy start-ups, corporations need to embrace partnerships and collaborations that help them reinvent processes, the marketplace and potentially their supply chain.

Will your traditional routes to markets fulfill consumer expectation in the long term? Are there opportunities for change? Collaboration with e-commerce platforms could transform the sales conversation, or by partnering with new nimble start-ups, you’ll find you’re able to move faster. Opening to partnerships and new collaborations in areas where you lack expertise is critical to staying fresh and ahead.

 

6. Flexible & Adaptive Leadership

To continue growing, entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners must become the leaders the business needs for each particular stage of growth. Since a company’s needs change at each stage, its leaders need to keep evolving at the right pace. It requires introspection, self-awareness, and a keen sense of strategy – both in the short- and long-term.

There should also be a clear ethos of positivity around evolution in leadership. An evolving landscape requires new leadership roles that can transform how data, analytics, and digital engagement can be used to improve performance.

With revolutionary ideas comes greater efficiencies, but also, importantly, more opportunities for sustainable growth.