Business Growth: Strategies for Success in 2014

October 14, 2013

by Mark Paggioli

In business, growing pains often start before any growth begins. Most leaders of small and midsized manufacturing businesses (SMBs) face a daily challenge to maintain the status quo, let alone achieve real business growth. Their natural reaction is to prioritize operational efficiency as a defense against shifting market forces and the looming threat of customers’ offshoring to lower cost regions.

This type of reactive management mindset makes it increasingly difficult to sell a product or service on value.  It can also pigeonhole the businesses into a “me too” market position, left to compete on price and price alone.  Overcoming this pain point is essential if an SMB is going to develop a highly differentiated, highly profitable market position.

Surprisingly though, shifting business objectives is easier than you might think. Look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and decide where you can get the most return.  If your offerings are tiered or easily duplicated, a focus on innovation might make sense. Or maybe the first step is market diversification and penetration to offset reliance on a client that makes up too much of your business.  Ultimately, where you start is not as important as your level of commitment.

This article is the first in a series designed to discuss four key elements of strategic business growth. As you read, try to assess your business on the following:

  1. Products – Growth here depends on the alignment between existing offerings and market needs. Identify gaps between the two, maintain a new product development pipeline, and success will follow.
  2. Markets – It can be tempting to think any new market offers limitless possibility.  Real opportunities are built upon hard research data.  Before any bold shifts, ask yourself: do we know what we need to do to make an informed decision?
  3. Customers – Growth planning frequently leads to growing the existing customer base or diversifying.  In many cases, these strategies are connected to customer intelligence and Voice-of-Customer (“VoC”) efforts.
  4. Technologies – New products are often the result of technology advances.  A focused technology scouting effort to support your growth planning might pay large dividends.

As you conceptualize and begin to implement your strategic shift, it is essential to consider how your efforts will be communicated to the marketplace. As you move forward, you will need a clear, concise Value Proposition.

“If you have to find new markets or products, and the way the latter connects with a specific customer need, look at the marketing message and the ways the market interprets it,” says Mark Paggioli, CONNSTEP’s Manager, Growth and Innovation Services. “Markets, products, customers, competitors…all of these are things to consider before crafting your value proposition.  That includes the standard value proposition as well as an economic value proposition.”

If you are ready to begin this critical part of the business growth journey, consider joining the next session of CONNSTEP’s annual Business Growth Program on November 12 and 13.

This year, CONNSTEP is partnering with Value Prop Interactive, and the November session will feature veteran marketer, sales professional, and author of Value Prop, Jose Palomino.  Palomino will offer insight into the critical tasks of creating powerful value propositions that stand out in the marketplace.

The year-long Business Growth Program is designed to help manufacturers begin developing powerful marketing strategies for topline business growth.  Subscribers are entitled to quarterly workshops, monthly coaching calls with a CONNSTEP Value Prop-Certified Coach, and access to The AcceleratorTM Online Strategic Marketing Planning Platform.

“This event offers valuable instruction on how business growth components work together,” Paggioli says.  “If a client is looking to grow sales, enter new markets, or come up with new products, they can expect to learn a great deal.”

To learn more, call 800.266.6672 or click to speak with one of our dedicated and driven business growth experts.

CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”

CT manufacturer Pegaasus

Chris DePentima

CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”

AGRussell logo

Mark Burzynski

President, Arthur G Russell Co

“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”

esi CT manufacturer

Ron Delfini

President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”

Tom Lucas

Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”

Greg Safarik

VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”

Bruce Wheeler

VP of Operations, Metal Finishing Technologies Inc.

“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

Tornik CT manufacturer

Dan Rubbo

General Manager, Tornik LLC

“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating …  promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”

CT manufacturer Colonial Spring

Bill Lathrop

President, Colonial Spring Co.

Prev Next