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Strategies for Business Growth that Go Beyond a Blind Belief in Brand Value

No business is ‘too big to fail’. Blind idealism didn’t work out well for Kodak, and now another iconic brand is filing for bankruptcy: Gibson. The guitar brand used by Bob Marley, Billy Joe Armstrong, Mick Jones, Slash, and a host of other superstars, is on the rocks. What went wrong and why did the turnaround strategy fail so horribly? On this week’s The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis takes us through the way this brand is going bust, and outlines essential strategies for business growth:

A CEO in attitude, but not in action

Gibson’s CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, currently owns 36% of the company, having bought it in 1986. While he may be well-educated, Juszkiewicz has often adopted the wrong type of attitude when faced with numerous obstacles to growth. Now facing seemingly insurmountable debt, things are looking dire at Gibson, as the company files for bankruptcy.

A failed turnaround strategy

Strong, responsive, and effective, strategies for business growth cannot be rooted in blame. Juszkiewicz has, however, blamed a wide range of variables for Gibson’s troubles. These include: changing customer interests; shifts in retail behaviour, with more customers attracted to online channels, and retailers locating stores in unsavory neighbourhoods, or making bad merchandising decisions. Instead of re-focusing the company, Juszkiewicz set out to re-define the business as one that encompassed ‘everything’ musical and aimed to be the ‘Nike of the music business.’ Making several acquisitions and attempting to eliminate Gibson’s competitors, the turnaround strategy failed, forcing the company into bankruptcy.

Good strategies for business growth

Good strategies for business growth start not by blaming any external change in circumstance, but rather by going within. To implement responsive and effective strategies for business growth, you should adopt an approach much like a start-up business would:

  • Consider your brand: Your brand is not just your products or services; it’s the entire experience your customers have of your business.
  • Go back to your customers: Your strategies for business growth can’t be centred around a product or service. Instead, focus on how your business can continue to solve your customers’ problems.
  • Be careful of how you diversify: Now is not the time for a complete re-invention. Instead, when looking for ways to diversify your business, consider your already existing customer relationships; and how what you do or offer right now can be built upon, to solve new problems.
  • Take it slow: An agile approach provides a great foundation for your business growth strategies. Adopting an agile approach means taking many small steps, and then constantly assessing your progress or output.
  • Secure anchor and reference clients: Test out your diversified business offering to a select group of customers and ask them to feed back to you on their experience.  
  • Measure and assess: As you move through each small step, build a reporting mechanism that’ll give you solid metrics on how your strategy is working, and help you to assess how your business is growing.
  • Build funding relationships: Don’t sacrifice your cashflow in pursuit of a growth strategy. Rather, look towards building funding relationships throughout your business journey, that you’ll be able to rely upon whenever you need them. If you’ve built your reporting systems well, you can easily report back to funders and investors on the success of your diversification strategy, imbuing those relationships with further confidence, as you grow your business.  
  • Capacitate your team: Supporting your team and providing them with the resources to implement your strategies for business growth, is essential. A well-equipped team will ensure that your customers’ experience of your business remains positive, enabling return business, and stimulating business growth.

At Aurik, we help business owners like you create and implement effective strategies for business growth. Chat to us, and we’ll help you build your business into an asset of value.

Tags: The Money Show, Business Strategy, Strategic Planning

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