5 Business Growth Paradoxes: Growth May Be Counter-Intuitive

business growth, counter intuitiveEach week as I work with business owners a common struggle emerges - focus! Business and life are so distracting that it is extremely difficult to stay focused. To build and grow your business you must focus, but focus on what? There are many things a business owner feels pulled to focus on, which typically ends up being no focus at all. I suggest that above all you focus on your core business. If you haven't read it, please read "Business Growth Strategies: Build On Your Core." "The empirical data on the frequency with which management teams undervalue their core business is overwhelming," states Chris Zook, author of Profit from the Core.  Because of this Zook suggests that there are 5 business growth paradoxes. Let me summarize them here. You may find that business growth is counter-intuitive. Paradox #1:  Your better performing business units are likely to be those operating the furthest below their full potential. In other words, we tend to focus on shoring up what is weak. While this may be necessary at times, our greatest leverage for growth is going to come from our strengths; those parts of our business that are probably operating well with little attention. By focusing on those areas we are likely to see exponential returns. So identify your core strengths and build on your core. Paradox #2:  The stronger your core business, the more opportunities you have both to move into profitable adjacencies as well as to lose focus! Building a strong core is essential to achieve sustainable growth; however, it will probably not be enough. At the appropriate time you may want to expand into some new areas. But in doing this you will open yourself up to new risks of losing focus on your core business. Paradox #3: The teams that have been most successful in building a strong core business and that have benefited from adjacency expansion are also the most vulnerable to industry turbulence. Why? They have been tenaciously focused and typically do not have the agility to react quickly and refine strategy based on marketplace events. Paradox #4:  All organizations inhibit growth. By nature organizational systems resist change, but change is necessary to achieve sustained profitable growth. The actions necessary for business growth will encounter resistance. Paradox #5:  From focus comes growth; by narrowing scope one creates expansion. The most reliable and consistent solution is grow by focusing on your core!

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