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Defining strategy is the main barrier to growth

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This article was placed by GrowthAccelerator.

“It was important for us to step outside of the day-to-day running of the business and look at the bigger picture. Doing that has helped us to develop a strategy that, with the help of our Coach, we are fully focused on delivering, and which is benefitting so many areas of our business,” according to Alan Wyn-Davies, Chairman of DFx, an Oxfordshire-based producer of energy efficient lighting. Alan’s recognition of the need to ‘step back’ in order to drive its growth is not uncommon. The new annual report from government-backed service GrowthAccelerator revealed that the most common barriers to growth are the definition of business strategy, affecting 40 per cent, and having the right people and skills in place to drive that strategy forward.

The report reveals that only 32 per cent of GrowthAccelerator clients had sought strategic business advice in the last two years. With the help from the service, however, 93 per cent say they feel more confident in being able to achieve their targets and over 3,000 businesses say they are increasing turnover faster. “It’s crucial that in recognising the value of these firms, we do whatever possible to support and facilitate their further growth and expansion,” comments Business Secretary Vince Cable. “That is why I launched GrowthAccelerator in 2012. One year on the service is accelerating the achievements of businesses with high growth potential.”

GrowthAccelerator works by finding businesses with the highest growth potential and identifies and helps them to overcome the barriers they face. Working directly with the senior management team, a Growth Manager will help to develop a specific, individually tailored growth plan.

To overcome a business’ barriers and maximise its opportunities, GrowthAccelerator focuses on support in four key areas:

Leadership and Management training 

This upskills senior management teams on an individual or team basis, helping them focus on their own role in achieving their high growth potential. In fact, nearly 5,000 business leaders and their senior managers have undertaken this training in the last year. Each GrowthAccelerator business can access up to £2,000 match funding for each senior manager. With the report finding that growth can come from anywhere, providing the management team has the right skills to make it happen, this training has the potential to make a significant impact on growth.

Business Development coaching 

It helps business leaders to decide on growth strategies and focus on specific business areas, from new markets to improving the supply chain, to help unlock new revenue. Some 76 per cent of businesses have received Business Development coaching, with a third developing a breakthrough game plan and a third devising a marketing strategy and or marketing/sales implementation as a direct result of the support.

Growth through Innovation 

This identifies the products or services with the best growth potential and helps businesses get these to market. One in ten GrowthAccelerator clients has received support here, including the securing of 230 Intellectual Property audits.

Access to Finance 

It breaks down the barriers to accessing finance from external sources. To date, this has resulted in £21m of new funding for GrowthAccelerator clients, £50m in the pipeline and a further £100m identified.

Overcoming growth barriers with GrowthAccelerator support has seen Leicestershire based Hallmark Consumer Services launch a lucrative new service line. This £5m online shopping order fulfilment and direct marketing mail specialist had big aspirations to grow, but needed a refreshed marketing and innovation strategy to underpin its goal to double turnover in five years. Matched with local marketing expert and Coach Mike Epton, the company developed a marketing strategy centered on new innovations, new services and new markets, including how to take advantage of the booming e-commerce marketplace.

The partnership is yielding results. The business has launched a premium gift wrapping and gift messaging service, allowing customers to add a personal touch to their purchased products. And it has formed a partnership to pack and distribute a Swiss company’s products in the UK, which opens the door for international expansion. “Working with GrowthAccelerator really helped us to bring our new service to life” says Managing Director Chris Hall. “We’re interested in the luxury market and this product launch is the first step to strengthening our business proposition both domestically and internationally.”

Could your business benefit from GrowthAccelerator support?

To be eligible for GrowthAccelerator, your business must be registered and based in the UK, have fewer than 250 employees and have a turnover of less than £40m. You must also demonstrate clear ambition to reach your next growth phase, and have the potential and determination to get there.

If your business is eligible, and you decide GrowthAccelerator is right for your business, you will work with your Growth Manager and coach to develop a growth strategy for the future, help you build a case for investment and find new sources of finance, turning your most innovative ideas into profit. We will also provide training to develop a confident leadership team as our service will work alongside you to identify the critical steps you need to take to achieve your next phase of growth – rapidly and sustainably.

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