Business Growth: Enabling Growth through Technology

November 07, 2013

by Mark Paggioli

This post is the fourth in a series on the business growth opportunities that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can consider as they seek to increase top line revenue.

Those of you following our four-part series on business growth will remember that we began our discussion with the need to diversify the customer base and continued with a look at the ways that products and adjacent markets can impact revenue growth. Today we will discuss the final element in this equation: technology.

As a concept, technology gets an awful lot of ink, not to mention a great deal of discussion time in boardrooms and on shop floors alike.  It can mean different things to different people, but for our purposes, its effective use comes back to moving beyond discussions of shiny new gadgets to an understanding of how to leverage technology to enable business growth.

To put us on common ground from a business growth perspective, a broad definition may be “anything that helps to improve processes/products, enable business growth, or realize a competitive advantage.” In these terms, the ability to properly supplement your in-house technology (or apply it in novel ways) may hold more potential than you realize!

Competitive Advantage through Technology

CONNSTEP approaches the technology issue from two important angles: Technology Scouting (searching outside your company’s normal channels to find solutions to specific technology needs) and Technology Driven Market Intelligence, or TDMI (market intelligence that directly considers the benefits and market impacts related to your company’s specific technology-based assets).

Technology Scouting, in other words, looks beyond your usual industries to not only solve problems but to spur great leaps ahead through the combination of your processes or products with enabling technology from outside your traditional sphere of understanding.

TDMI, meanwhile, seeks to identify opportunities that exist for your in-house technology in other markets.  RFID technology is an outstanding example of a technology that moved from a relatively narrow band of applications to become the de facto tracking standard in the massive warehouse distribution/logistics sector.

In either case, with a bit of creative thinking—not to mention a solid understanding of the technologies at play and opportunities that exist beyond your standard end-use industries—you just might be able to realize a competitive advantage far greater than the sum of its parts.

Too often, SMBs find themselves trapped in the “we’ll solve it ourselves” mindset.  Let’s face it, many of these companies differentiate themselves through their problem-solving abilities.  It’s only logical to believe they can think themselves over any obstacle.

The limitations of an internal solution process are very real, however.  Anyone can make incremental changes; new features are easy.  You need true game changers to open meaningful gaps between you and your competition—gaps that will be difficult and time-consuming for them to close. Those quantum leaps, though, are likely to take more than you have to offer—more talent, more time, and more money.

Fortunately, the solution could be as close as the phone.  Why not engage an outside expert?  CONNSTEP’s Technology Scouting and TDMI offerings help companies find new and creative ways to reduce defects, improve quality and product reliability, and gain competitive advantages through technology.

It’s still not too late to begin the business growth planning process for 2014.  If you’re unsure of where to start your in-depth look at the interplay of growth factors in your business, consider CONNSTEP’s Business Growth Program. The program is designed specifically for small and midsize companies focusing on each of the four key elements of business growth.  Click here to learn more!

Missed the article and previous blog posts? Here they are:

Business Growth:  Strategies for Success in 2014

New Customers are Key

Optimizing Products & Increasing Awareness

The Power of Adjacent Markets

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CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

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President, Arthur G Russell Co

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President, Colonial Spring Co.

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