I Want My Business to Grow, but Where Do I Start?

Person stand in front of line chart

Chances are if you own or lead a small manufacturing or industrial enterprise, you are focused on growing your business. With nearly endless opportunities to pursue that promised growth combined with uncertainty driven by new technologies and increasing customer needs, how should a business owner make decisions on where to focus?

In a GENEDGE study of small to medium-sized manufacturing, industrial and engineering firms across the Commonwealth, 80% of business owners and executive leaders expressed business growth as their primary strategic intent for the business over the next 3 years. But in their comments, we heard such things as:

“We need to identify the right opportunities to grow — going to market with the right products at the right time, selling to a wider client base, and assessing acquisition opportunities.”

“There is uncertainty in the market. We don’t know exactly what our customers are thinking. Customers have other constraints even if they want to give us the business.”

“We don’t currently address long-term performance gaps.”

“We are working on cost reduction by leveraging raw materials, technology to reduce fixed costs, and cutting people as a last resource.”

“To be competitive we need automation and newer technologies such as robots and sensors.”

In today’s rapidly changing environment it can be challenging to proactively understand opportunities and assess their potential so that you are investing your constrained resources well.

A problem well-defined is half-solved.

A simple mental model for effective change says we need to understand what needs to change, what we should change to, and how to cause that change to happen. Having an efficient and effective assessment of our current state that identifies gaps to the desired state is a critical first step in determining where to focus our efforts to achieve our goals. This allows us to identify what we could change to in a predictive way. Otherwise, we are using trial and error to make changes that we hope will have the desired effect.

At GENEDGE, we prefer to start with a proven assessment tool (or tools) to ensure that we have the information we need to understand opportunities for improvement and enhance the probability of getting results. We even have a full suite of assessment tools and discovery processes that have achieved results for hundreds of clients. There are a few in particular I would like to highlight that address different perspectives when the objective is business growth:

  1. How do I increase what my business is worth?
    CoreValue® Assessments are designed to focus executive leadership on generating increased strategic value of the firm. Originally developed through research at MIT, this tool uses 18 “value drivers” expressed as best practices that are found in top-performing firms. The evaluation of the current practices relative to these internal and external drivers of company value generates an estimated “enterprise value” for the firm. More importantly, the tool builds a model to estimate the “value gap” by comparing the current practices to the best practices articulated in the assessment. Analyzing the value gaps allows the business owner to prioritize potential investments with the best probability for increasing value of the business.
  2. How do I improve my operations to become more competitive?
    Competitiveness Review Assessments are a holistic tool that combines quantitative and qualitative company performance information from leadership, management, and key stakeholders. Company leader(s) self-assess their use of best practices and GENEDGE delivery personnel conduct on-site personal interviews to validate the input and observe the operations. Collected performance data are input and scored by the tool against thousands of other industrial firm results across the U.S. (primarily MEP clients), giving the client a visual barometer vs. “best in class” benchmarks in the areas of Organization, Systems, Workforce, and Sustainability. The assessment report combines this input with direct observation to generate prioritized recommendations. This low-cost way of helping company leadership “sort out” their biggest issues helps better achieve business goals, whether top line or cost reduction, through increased performance.
  3. How does our financial performance stack up against comparable companies?
    ProfitCents Assessments provide an analysis that enables leadership within a company to benchmark its financial performance vs. industry competitors. Why is this important? To compete in any industry and achieve Value Chain differentiation and business model transformation, a detailed look at competitive drivers in financial performance is key to leadership’s understanding of where to prioritize improvements and target efforts. Typically we use this assessment as we narrow down opportunities so that we can not only compare our current performance, but can create a model enabling company leaders to predict financial results to visually show the client what “could-be” – and probably “should be” – based on investments targeting business growth.

So, how do I get started?

These assessments typically range in value from $2,500 to $5,000, but for a limited time we are offering an initial assessment free of charge. If you would like to learn more about these or any of our other assessments, Connect with your Regional Growth Manager to set up a no-cost meeting to develop an assessment plan. Typically with a small time investment, you will receive meaningful information delivered by our trusted advisors that may challenge you, but can help you realize your business goals.

By Dean Young, Vice President, Industrial Development, GENEDGE

Strategic Business Management