Learning Provider Profile
Mr Ardila is the co-founder of The Hawksbill Group, a business consulting and investment firm advising medium and large clients in the public and private sectors. Mr. Ardila is also a member of the Board of Directors of Accenture, Goldman Sachs BDCs, Nexa Resources and Ola Electric Mobility. Prior to his current activities, he was Executive Vice President of General Motors and CEO of Latin America from 2010-2016 (March). In his 30-year career with GM, he held several important positions, including country CEO in Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, as well as CFO of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. He also worked as an investment banker for the Rothschild Group from 1996-1998 and Secretary General at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Colombia (1983-84).
Mr. Ardila is a graduate of the London School of Economics where he obtained a MSc. Degree in Economics. He has lived in 10 countries and speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and German.
The long-term survival of a corporation depends on growth. It facilitates asset acquisition, talent attraction, and investment financing. Profit and corporate performance are also fueled by it. For a variety of reasons, corporate growth can be beneficial. For instance, it might enable you to seize fresh chances, broaden your offerings, draw in more clients, boost sales, and hire additional personnel. Additionally, it might assist you in meeting consumer demand, boosting your market share, and leveraging your expanding brand. It frequently encourages creativity, assisting you in standing out in the market and fending off competition. Growth can also improve your company’s reputation, give you more options for suppliers, and boost stability and revenue. But for growth to be effective and long-lasting, it must be deliberate and motivated by the appropriate factors. The majority of firms expand in order to grow larger, possibly by growing revenue or market share, but size isn’t the sole factor. Numerous more advantages spur firm expansion. For instance: More market sustainability or resilience, lower costs as a result of economies of scale, greater market dominance, greater purchasing and negotiating power, the capacity to mitigate commercial risks, such as through diversification, the capacity to lessen the threat of competition, the capacity to withstand market fluctuations and downturns, and the capacity to draw in the best talent and employees. For certain firms, growth may not be practicable or feasible, but in most circumstances, stagnation is more likely to result in missed opportunities.
01. Survival: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
02. Increase Sales: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
03. Increase Market Share: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
04. Greater Power to Control the Market: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
05. Increase Profits: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
06. Economies of Scale: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
07. Protection from Risk of Takeover: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. 1 Month
08. Share Risk through Diversification: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
09. Attract Customers: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
10. Expand Products & Services: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
11. Attract Top Talent: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
12. Greater Sustainability: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
01. Survival: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
02. Increase Sales: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
03. Increase Market Share: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
04. Greater Power to Control the Market: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
05. Increase Profits: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
06. Economies of Scale: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
07. Protection from the Risk of Takeover: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
08. Share Risk through Diversification: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
09. Attract Customers: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
10. Expand Products & Services: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
11. Attract Top Talent: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
12. Greater Sustainability: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
01. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Survival.
02. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Increase Sales.
03. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Increase Market Share.
04. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Greater Power to Control the Market.
05. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Increase Profits.
06. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Economies of Scale.
07. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Protection from the Risk of Takeover.
08. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Share Risk through Diversification.
09. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Attract Customers.
10. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Expand Products & Services.
11. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Attract Top Talent.
12. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Greater Sustainability.
Why Growth Is Important For Business
A company’s ability to grow can help it surpass its rivals and seize the lead in the market. To keep the business successful and open for business, expansion must be carefully managed.
For businesses to expand and be prosperous, growth is essential. If properly handled, business development offers several benefits. These could include more revenues, a wider customer base, which might give the business more stability since they are not dependent on just a few clients, and cost savings. Growth brings economies of scale, and because a company is buying in larger quantities, it may be able to do it more affordably.
Diversification in terms of markets, goods, or services may happen with expansion, and this can be advantageous for businesses.
Growth can enable a company to overtake its competition and become the dominant player in the market. However, it is crucial that growth is managed and carried out at a rate that allows the company to continue to be profitable and to operate successfully.
Control over your company’s growth is ensured with a solid plan.
Before making any decisions that can negatively affect the company, business growth must be considered. Controlling growth is necessary to prevent a company’s expansion expenditures from exceeding its revenue, which would leave it unable to pay its creditors.
It is crucial to properly plan expansion from the beginning since business owners who do not comprehend the components of a strategy that appropriately matches their strategy to their business goals are likely to fail. In order to ensure a business’s growth proceeds as smoothly as possible, it is crucial to resort to certain tried-and-true business planning techniques.
How to organize your business’s expansion plan.
The adage “begin with the goal in mind” by Stephen Covey sums up what every business owner should take into account when formulating their strategy. You should think about your business’s purpose—that is, why you are doing it, what it means to you, and where you want to take it.
By offering a future road map—a corporate strategy—planning business milestones will assist in making any exit plan and goal a reality.
Consider a time frame of, say, five years and consider broadly where you want your company to go at that point. After that, think about where you want to be in three years, two years, six months, and right now. You’ll probably need to grow if you want to get from where you are today to where you want to be in five years.
Your sales objectives must be pertinent to your business’s long-term objectives and realistically attainable. The ideal approach is to continuously assess the operations’ relevance in the context of the external business environment and, when necessary, modify the plan. Business expansion can take place in a variety of areas. For example, consider how you might expand your business in terms of personnel, finances, location, diversification, new markets, etc.
What is the goal of your business?
Think about your company’s overall goal and how well the current organizational structure supports it. Which areas assist the company purpose and which areas don’t? How might this be made better? Create a framework that supports your final objective and document it! Establish goals and benchmarks for each division of the company in relation to the overarching goal. Put safeguards in place that will allow you to monitor your progress toward whatever goals you may have established.
How can your company expand?
There are various strategies for business expansion. You may expand it naturally using the resources already available to the company by boosting sales, adding new clients, product lines, a new region, additional sales channels, and generating more volume through larger markets and clients.
The company may decide to take on a loan, business grant, asset finance, crowdsourcing, or any of the countless other options that may be considered to assist the expansion of the business if other methods of expanding the business require outside support. This entails some risk, which must constantly be taken into account and weighed against your long-term business objectives.
Always keep an eye on the budget, take a look at the projections, and consider the cash flow. This is crucial now that we have been cohabiting with Covid for a while. It’s crucial to take business risk and opportunity into account. It’s also crucial to be able to react swiftly to any changes in circumstances and keep an eye on this. Do not exceed your capacity; instead, plan ahead.
What skills are required to expand your business?
For a company, growth can be both a difficulty and a source of great excitement. New skill requirements may arise as a result of business expansion, such as when you hire your first employee. It will be crucial to take competition into account, which you might not have done before. Competitors will notice and keep an eye on you as you effectively expand, therefore you must also do this. It will be crucial to make sure you have the fresh skill sets needed for development.
Success in expansion is accompanied by confidence. Growth is challenging, though, so it’s crucial to remember to prioritize your needs and create time for yourself when you take on new responsibilities. Don’t undervalue the fresh difficulties!
What advantages does expanding your business offer?
A certain amount of risk comes with expanding your target market, products, activities, or location, but if your competitors are changing, it could be necessary for you to as well. When planning to expand the business, lifecycle and market demand should be taken into account.
Gaining growth can have significant advantages. Both the possibility to enter new markets and the opportunity for distinction exist. You will be distributing your risk, but you must constantly weigh this against the associated costs and take into account how expanding into new markets with a new product may influence your brand identification. Depending on the industry you are in, brand identity may become stronger through expansion through innovation.
How can effective business expansion be ensured?
If expansion is successfully controlled, stability may follow, giving the business owner additional peace of mind. As the business develops and grows, it may also be perceived in the marketplace as a corporation that is succeeding as it grows.
But in this case, a word of warning is necessary. The need of controlled, planned, and well-managed expansion is crucial because the appearance may not always correspond to reality. Not stretching the firm too thin to the point that it overtrades, which is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on the impact on the finances at every stage of growth.
Growth can spread your risk and lessen your reliance on a single market or consumer. If properly handled, your profits will rise. Better talent is attracted by successful businesses. However, throughout the growing phase, vigilance must always be used. It’s important to keep an eye on possibilities and risks as you grow to prevent any quality lapses. This must be kept in mind since as a business owner, as you expand, you can lose the strict, hands-on control you originally had over every aspect of your firm.
Above all, as you advance, sound financial planning is still essential. Accept the chance to expand, but also make sure you know why you are doing so. Wherever you can, try to limit risk and promote stability rather than welcoming in too many hazards. Know your industry, your customers, and any upcoming dangers and opportunities at all times. To expand your business successfully, you must plan and monitor every aspect of it, and you must also be able to act swiftly when an unexpected shift occurs.
Why growth is important even to just sustain the business
The popular saying for any business model goes – “if you’re not growing you’re dying”, so whether you like it or not, businesses cannot afford to stop still. As a company grows beyond the startup stage, the focus must shift, especially for small enterprises. For long-term success, discovering chances for corporate growth must take center stage. However, few businesses are aware that accomplishing the company’s goals requires a determined strategy and that growth is illusive.
Growth is thought to be illusive by scientists for two main reasons:
“Inadequate consideration of opportunities within the core business, adjacent to the core business or within new customer sub-segments.
An organizational infrastructure that cannot support successful execution”
Growth, in fact, represents a different thing to different people/businesses. For many businesses, growth is something that grows you, your employees, and team and grows an organization as a whole. It adds value to the company, which is much more fulfilling than just the financial aspect. Growth and profitability are the two most crucial elements a company should take into consideration to be successful and stay in business and to continue to be appealing to investors and analysts. When there is no organizational growth, your business may have a number of negative effects:
• There won’t be any growth in earnings and profits
• There won’t be any hike in employee’s income
• There won’t be any potential for additional jobs openings
• Reliable employees might leave your organization soon
• You will limit options to innovate new products and services
• Your business rivals will grow
• Business could stagnant and lose out on lucrative opportunities
• There could be a greater drop in the productivity factor.
• Existing infrastructure fails to support additional complexity if any.
• Your unique selling point might not impress your customer anymore
• Your industry ideas will develop, but you will be left behind
Having said that, any company’s long-term viability still depends on growth. Additionally, increasing sales and the market are ways to make a quick profit. And the stage of business growth is when your company reaches the point of expansion and looks for new opportunities to generate more revenue. In a broader sense, growth is the most crucial element in the development of industries, businesses, and sustainability.
But it’s not easy to take a firm from an initial concept to sustained success. Many people make mistakes and expand too quickly, increasing the risk of resource depletion and inability to satisfy consumer demand. Even though there isn’t a universal formula for calculating optimal growth, it’s still crucial to plan your growth so that it may be managed and controlled.
Let’s examine why a business must expand in order to survive:
Growth is required for Sustainability – To continue existing in a certain sector for a longer period of time is to sustain oneself. A firm must be sustainable in order to expand, and it cannot grow without being sustainable. The business environment is constantly changing, thus it is best for a company to adapt to this change and seize opportunities to ensure its sustainability.
Credibility is built via growth – When a company persists in its field for an extended length of time, the market starts to take notice. Additionally, a company with a positive reputation and goodwill is more likely to draw in new patrons, workers, and investors. The level of trust and confidence that people have in your company can have a significant impact on the main goal of the business.
Growth reduces competition – Competition was once thought of as a motivating force for improving goods and services. But lately, competition has increased, and businesses are trying to stay away from it. Growing continuously makes it easier for a company to compete successfully on all fronts. Growth creates space for development and diversification, which ultimately aid in fending off fierce competition.
Growth lowers commercial risks, which are possible losses brought on by customers or other businesses – Any organization’s product development team has a duty to minimize risk, both technical and commercial, after the product is released for sale. Reduced risk of sliding off the cliff is now a simple chore for a well-managed and sustainable firm.
Innovation fosters growth – A company must successfully implement new ideas if it is to advance and grow. Innovation introduces new goods and services, boosts productivity, and drives profitability. Innovation has enormous advantages for both customers and businesses, and a company can only consider innovation if it is expanding sustainably. In the alternative, a company that isn’t innovating would lose market share to rivals and fall short of productivity and efficiency.
Partnerships and joint ventures are reaped by growth – When a firm is expanding, it frequently arranges for alliances, joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions. More contacts, higher market shares, lesser business risks, a larger client base, favorable financing alternatives, more resources, and a chance to enter a new market are all obvious advantages of this dimension.
Growth retains customers – Emmet and Mark Murphy write in their book “Leading on the Edge of Chaos” that obtaining new clients can cost a business around five times as much as keeping old ones. In fact, a 2% increase in client retention can have the same effect as a 10% cut in cost for a business. Instead of seeking for new clients and persuading them to do business with you, stable growth helps to maintain existing consumers, who are actually your best option for expanding sales.
Profitability is impacted by growth – Although growth is not restricted to profit, it does aid in achieving and sustaining profitability. Even in organizations with strong financial performance, there should always be room for expansion because this presents chances for increased overall profitability and sustainability in line with the needs of customers, analysts, and future or existing investors. Profit and growth go hand in hand with business success; if profit is necessary for managing financial survival, growth is essential for profit and long-term success.
Businesses that want to put growth first need to properly prepare their growth strategy. While there are hazards associated with growth, the appropriate plan can provide stability, security, and long-term success. In order to simply survive the business and sustain it well once you have past the start-up stage, start setting growth goals, involving management, controlling costs, and frequently reviewing targets!
There are several strategies to expand your company, each of which is better suited to a particular sort of company, market, sector, product, or service.
– Organic growth.
Organic business expansion takes time and is typically safer and more stable than development through acquisition. Making your present business model more effective while reducing costs and expansion is the goal of the organic growth strategy. Organic expansion may involve selling:
• to new customers
• a new line to your existing customers
• in new geographical areas
• via additional sales channels
• a greater volume to bigger markets/customers
To expand your company’s offering, it may also include hiring new people or retraining your current staff.
These growth strategies typically involve less inherent risk and complexity and are more predictable. For instance, you might need to increase your current sales team or simply start a new marketing campaign in order to advertise your current product line to new clients or geographical areas.
A quicker, albeit riskier, approach to expand your company is by purchasing another one. The company you buy can be a rival of yours or it might be a company that enhances what you already have to offer. A easy strategy to quadruple your revenue is to buy a company with a similar turnover to your own.
– Joint Venture.
A solid and mutually advantageous approach to expand your customer base, penetrate new markets, and acquire additional talent with local/product knowledge is by joining a joint venture. Joint venture partners typically offer services that are mutually beneficial and can advance both businesses.
– Franchising and Licensing.
If your brand is well-known and has sufficient equity, licensing out your good or service can be the solution. By allowing licensees to sell your product, you can earn money from their sales with little initial setup expense. And it might open up new domestic and international markets for your brand.
The concept of licensing is presented in a somewhat different light through franchising. This is ideal for firms needing less control on auxiliary operations because it requires less upfront investment and could generate large revenues from committed franchisees.
Motives for expanding your business
There are numerous reasons why expanding your business can be the best course of action. The factors that apply to your company will determine the course of your growth. Therefore, it’s crucial to comprehend your motivations in their whole.
1. Satisfy consumer demand.
You’ve done a thorough analysis of the market and are confident that your product or service meets the demands of the present market. Your research has demonstrated that there is a sizable and concentrated demand for your product at the price you require to maintain your growth objectives.
In this case, growing into new markets and hiring more personnel will enable you to build on your current success. You can boost your market share and take advantage of your rising brand equity to maybe overtake the competition.
Due to a capacity shortage, you could currently need to decline jobs. This is just another compelling argument in favor of expanding your workforce.
Careful planning is necessary to effectively finance this kind of expansion in order to prevent unaffordable costs or overextended commercial capacity. To close gaps in cash flow that rapid development can cause, many firms rely on services like supplier payments loans.
2. New markets, rivalry, and innovation.
Because they do not give customers a compelling enough reason to transfer from their present supplier to the new commodity or service, many small businesses fail. The solution may lie in entering new markets if you’re having trouble with intense competition and a bland offering.
Your company can build a presence in areas where there is a specific need for your product or service by expanding into new markets. This can aid in minimizing the effects of market saturation and intense competition.
Moving to a larger facility or to other sites may boost your production capacity and aid in driving away competition if you’re wanting to stay in your current market.
Innovation is another aspect of growth. By making improvements to your product or service, you can set yourself apart from the competition and improve your prospects of enduring success.
Growing your firm aids in building a better brand identification, which further aids in fending off rivalry. You can grow your brand via franchising, granting licenses for your goods and services, or entering carefully curated new product categories. Your brand identity matures and your revenue rises as the number of stores and items rises.
3. Boost stability.
Businesses typically become more stable as they expand. A one-person company with few revenue streams is far less reliable than a company with several locations and dozens of employees.
This stability is also in part a result of how people view your company. People think you are more likely to stick around for the duration of their products’ lives to provide spare parts and uphold warranties as your business expands. You’ll probably sell more goods and services to this market segment if your business expands.
Your concentration risk from market fluctuations and downturns is also spread out by expanding your operations across many markets and regions. Increasing your supply base also helps.
4. Boost Profits.
If your company is bigger, you can benefit from economies of scale. Larger companies frequently qualify for bulk discounts and better supplier credit terms, which lower expenses and boost profitability.
A higher turnover can also indicate a higher chance of making money. A lot of expanding businesses see their earnings rise along with their operations thanks to the gains in profit margin that economies of scale can offer.
When margins are getting thinner or revenues are declining, expansion or investment is frequently made. Entering the export market may be one of the best ways to increase sales, and there is a wealth of information on government websites to assist.
Finding the ideal employees to manage your company is essential but difficult for many business owners. The greatest talent tends to be drawn to growing organizations. A successful, expanding business offers its employees options and challenges, which makes them incredibly alluring. It can be energizing and professionally satisfying to be a member of a rising company.
Additionally, the company is no longer dependent on you once you start handing off managerial and operational choices to others in your organization. You can spend more time on personal interests as a result.
Why is business growth important: what happens when you do not grow
Growth means a lot of things to different people. Right now, I’m speaking to the kind of development that helps you, a team, and an organization grow. It develops a wealth that is much more fulfilling than money on its own. What happens then if you don’t grow?
1. If your profits don’t decline, they’ll remain roughly the same.
2. You will be unable to increase employee pay.
3. You won’t be able to provide your clients cutting-edge goods and services.
4. You won’t produce more jobs.
5. You won’t be able to give more to the families of those who work for your company.
6. You’ll lose excellent workers who want to advance.
7. You’ll face more competition.
8. It’s possible that you’ll fall behind in your field.
9. You can grow bored with the industry.
10. You’ll restrict your employees’ potential.
The list could go on and on.
Giving others the chance to develop and prosper is the finest motive to improve. You must expand if you want to provide your staff with greater opportunities. Therefore, business expansion is crucial.
Nothing stays the same. It either gets bigger or smaller. Better or worse. You either grow or you shrink.
Being a permanent small business is not a problem. Just consider the repercussions.
Don’t expand merely for the sake of expanding. Grow because of the chances and “wealth” you are producing for both you and other people.
Chapter 1: Company Survival
Doesn’t every entrepreneur and/or business owner start and maintain a business in order to see it grow? The answer seems obvious. But as many top business coaches will tell you, some business leaders who attain a certain level of success are content to stay at this plateau. They feel assured within the space their business occupies in the marketplace and have little motivation to change anything.
This is a risky stance for any business leader to take. Growth isn’t just important for a company—it’s absolutely essential. Without continued growth, operations will stagnate and your business’ survival will be at risk. This can result in lowered standards of quality for products or services, decreased customer service, poor employee morale, and a host of other issues.
Growth is crucial to the long-term survival of a business, as well as having several other benefits:
• Easier to add resources
• Locate and identify new sales opportunities
• Expand range of products or services
• Acquire new customers
Also, growth can “boost your business’ credibility, allowing you to broaden your supply base and increase stability and profits.”
Plenty of other reasons spur business leaders to adopt a “continuous growth” mindset. A growing, financially secure company often enjoys market dominance (meaning, less threat from competitors), which in turn brings enhanced power to negotiate large-scale purchases (new technology, for example) and/or more beneficial lease or rent arrangements.
Effective growth also helps stave off the potentially negative effects of fluctuations in the marketplace and national economy. Plus, a growing company’s high profile often appeals to the most talented job-seekers out there.
Healthy growth boosts corporate survival rates, which was true in 2008 and remains true in the United States and in other developed markets. From 1983 to 2013, for instance, roughly 60 percent of the nonfinancial companies then in the S&P 500 were acquired—it’s grow or go, and they have gone. Consider these findings over that period:
Sixty of the 78 S&P 500 companies that generated top-line growth and improved or at least maintained their margins outperformed the S&P 500.
Companies with deteriorating margins performed less well, even if these companies were growing; just 8 out of 30 outperformed the index.
A higher percentage (56 percent) of companies that grew slowly, but also aggressively distributed cash to shareholders, outperformed the S&P 500.
The growth culture isn’t a component of a company’s strategy, it is the company’s strategy. Growth is a framework that needs to drive all operational tasks, projects and initiatives of a company. The DNA of the company needs to be growth. Opportunities for growth are endless and should always be seized. Companies that don’t grow generally don’t attract the most talented team members (because great people seek growth) and are therefore at a disadvantage from the very beginning.
Chapter 2: Increase Sales
Business growth occurs when your business is experiencing permanent increases in profit as a direct result of measurable and sustainable increases in “sales volume.” Only increases in sales volume that generate additional profit can be considered to represent real business growth. For example, your business may temporarily cut its prices, generating increased sales, in order to achieve a larger share of the existing market for your business’s products and/or services. But business growth will only have occurred when this increased market share leads to future sales that are profitable.
As the owner of a business that’s already successful, you should first identify your business’s growth (increased profits) to date, then determine what spurred this growth. Do this by determining which marketing efforts have historically made the greatest contribution to your business’s increased sales volume. Then you can exercise your first option for growing your business: continue implementing those successful marketing efforts.
Your second option is to consider new business growth strategies that can be expected to generate additional profitable sales, such as the following two important strategies: selling more to your existing customers, and selling to new potential customers.
Selling more to your existing customers, called an “upsell,” typically doesn’t just happen. In order to sell your customers more, you have to be prepared to actively market to them, and to do so continuously. Some strategies:
• Offer incentives, such as quantity discounts, to encourage multiple quantity purchases. An example would be to offer a “buy two, get a third free.”
• Bundle similar products and/or services with or without a discount-for example, a stereo receiver, a CD player and speakers.
• Offer complementary products and/or services that are natural companion purchases. For example, when a bank provides its customers with banking services and also offers securities brokerage.
• Add additional inventory as a way of encouraging additional sales of new products and/or services. The additional inventory can be funded by increasing your investment in your business or by offering another business’s products and/or services to your customers by way of a “strategic product alliance.” This alliance allows you to offer selected products and/or services of the other business, without having to invest in any additional inventory.
Selling to new prospects should be an ongoing effort to add new customers to your existing customer base. Some strategies:
• Share your customer base with another business. This strategy allows you to gain access to another business’s customers to whom you can market your business’s products and/or services. This is referred to as a marketing alliance.
• Target the existing customers of a competitor by making the competitor’s customers aware of your business, referred to as a “major sales advantage” (MSA). The MSA consists of such advantages as better-quality products, higher levels of service after the sale, a larger variety of inventory and/or services to choose from, or lower prices.
• Engage in “direct-response marketing.” This consists of the application of marketing strategies that are designed to cause the potential customer to “take immediate action,” such as coming into your store or picking up the telephone to call your business.
Whichever methods your business uses to achieve increased profits from measurable and sustainable increases in sales volume, it’s important that you identify “repeatable processes” that can be implemented again and again to provide the ongoing business growth you are seeking.
Chapter 3: Increase Market Share
A company’s market share is the percentage it controls of the total market for its products and services. Market share is an essential metric for businesses because it’s an indicator of a company’s profitability, success and represents growth. It can signal dominance in an industry and how well a company’s revenue-generating efforts are working to achieve business goals.
Market share can affect operations, pricing of products and services, and, potentially stock market performance. A growing market share corresponds to growing revenue. That, in turn, means a business can scale up its operations and opportunity for greater profitability. To gain market share should be a serious business goal.
There are a number of strategies a company can put to work to increase market share. These include improving innovation, building and solidifying customer loyalty, employing a talented, dedicated workforce, acquiring other companies, deploying effective advertising, and pricing products and services efficiently.
A higher market share places companies at a competitive advantage:
• Companies with high market share often receive better prices from suppliers, as their larger order volumes increase their buying power.
• Increased market share and greater production go hand-in-hand, with the latter providing a company with the opportunity to decrease the cost to produce an individual unit due to economies of scale.
• Higher market share can help improve sales when existing, brand-loyal customers buy more of a company’s products.
• Market share may also widen a company’s overall customer base as potential new customers follow the lead of existing ones.
• Gaining market share can strengthen and spotlight a company’s reputation. In addition to boosting sales and increasing bargaining power, that can attract new, more talented employees.
Chapter 4: Market Power
Market power refers to a company’s relative ability to manipulate the price of an item in the marketplace by manipulating the level of supply, demand or both.
A company with substantial market power has the ability to manipulate the market price and thereby control its profit margin, and possibly the ability to increase obstacles to potential new entrants into the market. Firms that have market power are often described as “price makers” because they can establish or adjust the marketplace price of an item without relinquishing market share.
What gives rise to Market Power?
Note that a market with perfect competition has no market power. This is because when the competition is perfect, the players will have zero power. Instead, each commercial enterprise will have to work with the current price in the market since it cannot be manipulated or changed. However, the perfect competitions concept is of the assumption that there is no even one producer who can determine a price for the overall market. For companies that produce the same products and services, they all vary in their market power levels. Generally, market power is only present where there is:
• Oligopoly: This is where there is complete domination of a market by either two or more than two suppliers.
• Monopoly: This is where a market is controlled by only one supplier.
• Monopsony: This is where a market is dominated by one buyer. A good example is the United States defense industry which represents over 85% of the purchases.
Chapter 5: Increase Profits
Expanding businesses and achieving higher sales is one of the ways of becoming more profitable.
As we know, business growth results from an increase in output which is goods produced and services provided. If this output is sold, then sales increase. Increased sales, when prices remain unchanged, will consequently increase sales revenue.
In order to also increase profits while expanding (increasing sales revenue), the business should keep its costs under control. Keeping the costs at the same level as before expansion, or keeping the growth of costs less than the growth in sales revenue, should also increase profits.
So, when businesses grow, their profits may increase as well.
Business Operations Expansion
Making a profit is essential for a business that desires to expand it operations. Earning a profit allows you to open other business locations, acquire another business, target other markets and expand your operations into foreign territory. The purpose of business expansion is to further increase your profits. Earning a profit is not the only factor that influences the decision of whether to expand your business, however.
When you are growing your business, your management and back office team should be able to take on additional responsibility. You should create a business plan for expansion and analyze trends and economic factors that affect your business.
Ability to Borrow Money
Many businesses depend on debt financing to operate. Debt financing obligates a business to repay the money borrowed to the creditor with interest. Debt financing for a small business typically includes borrowing money from a bank. A company’s profitability plays an important role in whether a bank lends the company money.
In addition to profit, a business owner’s credit score and collateral are determining factors in lending decisions. A company that cannot turn a profit is typically seen as a risk for default by a lender.
Attract Investors Financing
Some businesses choose to bring in private investors to secure funding for their operations. A company that earns continual profits is seen as a potentially good investment option because the investor believes there is a good chance to earn an attractive return on his investment. Attracting investors depends on your ability to show the monetary benefits of investing in your business. As a business owner, you should prepare to show potential investors your ability to generate profits in previous years and your plans to continue to earn profits in the future.
Hire More Employees
A part of growing a business includes hiring additional employees who can handle the growing responsibilities within the company. A business that is profitable has a better chance of affording to pay new employees’ salaries than a company that is struggling financially. Hiring new employees is an important element of running a business because employees are typically given more responsibility, especially in smaller companies. A business owner must allocate resources to defining open job positions, developing a hiring process and creating training programs.
Chapter 6: Economies of Scale
What are Economies of Scale?
Economies of scale refer to the cost advantage experienced by a firm when it increases its level of output. The advantage arises due to the inverse relationship between the per-unit fixed cost and the quantity produced. The greater the quantity of output produced, the lower the per-unit fixed cost.
Economies of scale also result in a fall in average variable costs (average non-fixed costs) with an increase in output. This is brought about by operational efficiencies and synergies as a result of an increase in the scale of production.
Economies of scale can be realized by a firm at any stage of the production process. In this case, production refers to the economic concept of production and involves all activities related to the commodity, not involving the final buyer.
Thus, a business can decide to implement economies of scale in its marketing division by hiring a large number of marketing professionals. A business can also adopt the same in its input sourcing division by moving from human labor to machine labor.
A firm’s efficiency is affected by its size. Large firms are often more efficient than small ones because they can gain from economies of scale, but firms can become too large and suffer from diseconomies of scale. As a firm expands its scale of operations, it is said to move into its long run. The benefits arising from expansion depend upon the effect of expansion on productive efficiency, which can be assessed by looking at changes in average costs at each stage of production.
The firm’s long run average cost shows what is happening to average cost when the firm expands, and is at a tangent to the series of short run average cost curves. Each short run average cost curve relates to a separate stage or phase of expansion. The reductions in cost associated with expansion are called economies of scale.
Advantages of economies of scale
The benefits of economies of scale to industries and businesses are wide-ranging, but generally speaking, it enables large corporations to reduce their costs, pass the savings onto the consumer, and gain an advantage over the competition. So, what are the advantages of economies of scale?
• Reduced long-term unit costs – One of the main benefits of internal economies of scale is reduced costs, enabling businesses to improve their price competitiveness in global markets.
• Increased profits – Economies of scale lead to increased profits, generating a higher return on capital investment and providing businesses with the platform to grow.
• Larger business scale – As a business grows in size, it solidifies and becomes less vulnerable to external threats, such as hostile takeover bids. This is one of the key benefits of economies of scale to industries as it has a positive effect on the company’s share price, as well as their ability to raise new financing.
Of course, there are also plenty of advantages of economies of scale for consumers, as lower unit costs often feed through to reduced prices. What are the advantages of economies of scale for consumers?
• Lower prices – Reduced cost-per-unit leads to lower prices for the consumer, meaning that overall, consumers will have higher real incomes and easier access to affordable products.
• Product improvements – Businesses can potentially reinvest their capital savings in research and development, leading to improved products (e.g. cheaper pharmaceuticals and food).
• Higher wages – For employees, another key benefit of economies of scale is the potential for profit sharing and higher real wages due to savings on cost.
Chapter 7: Protection from the risk of takeover
Public limited companies are often at risk of hostile takeovers – buying a majority stake in the business, because they have growth potential, have a widely recognized corporate name or due to a decrease in profits and subsequent fall in their share price.
But, large businesses are very, very expensive to be taken over – just look at the market capitalization of Apple (USD$2.29 trillion) or Microsoft (USD$2.05 trillion). Therefore, there is less risk of being a takeover target because simply there are not that many investors who can afford to buy such a large company. So, the larger the company, the more difficult it is for others to take it over because at least 51% of the company’s shares must be bought. Buying more than 50% of shares of Apple or Microsoft will cost around 1 trillion dollars each. Currently, the richest man in the world Elon Musk, the CEO and co-founder of Tesla, has an estimated net worth of USD$177 billion.
Sometimes though, the takeover is welcomed by the company’s directors and shareholders as they may want to sell their shares for cash and retire.
Takeovers are common practice—disguised to look like friendly mergers. It could be a mutual agreement or a hostile battle. In a hostile takeover, the acquirer secretly buys the shares of non-controlling shareholders from the open market. Gradually the acquirer takes hold of more than 50% of the target’s stocks, gaining control. The target firm management and board are unaware of such developments.
Takeover deals can be paid in cash, stocks, or both depending on the mutual agreement of parties. Mergers, acquisitions, and subsidiaries are the most common strategies followed. What motivates buyouts? At times, the acquirer may see an immense scope of growth and long-term value in a target firm. Sometimes, the acquirer intends to enter a new market immediately and with little investment. Capturing a huge market share, acquiring valuable resources and assets, attaining economies of scale, and profit maximization are among other motives.
Moreover, a larger company may be willing to eliminate competition by buying a smaller company. In an activist buyout, the acquirer intends to gain a controlling stake and initiate changes. Sometimes the reason behind an acquisition can be as crazy as a great deal, where a target company is available for a steal.
Chapter 8: Shares Risk through Diversification
Diversifying into new markets rather than focusing only on one specific market, as well as creating new products rather than just focusing only on one product, will help the business to grow.
Also, if there are any dramatic negative changes in that particular market, then having business operations in other markets will help not only to maintain growth, but also safeguard the firm’s survival.
Businesses are the backbone of the economy and at this time, against this ever-changing landscape it is important for industry to re-evaluate strategic direction and operations, in particular risk management, competitiveness, and sustainability and growth.
As a business strategy, international markets not only allow for business growth, but create new capabilities for the organization; in terms of adaptability and the understanding of international trade practicalities. This in itself will build resilience into the business models as cash flows, productivity and supply chains will all need to be to flexible and re-evaluated and restructured. Seeking international growth by going global offers opportunity and advantages and sound business reasoning. It is also a mechanism for positive risk management through identifying, assessing and managing potentially beneficial outcomes.
Through expanding business operations internationally, businesses spread their risk in a number of ways. Establishing new sales as the domestic market have reached or close to saturation allows for continued revenue to mitigate costs of production, but also eliminates negative organizational impact for example workforce reduction. This can be further extended by identifying new relevance and applications in new markets for existing products can extend the product life of lines that were perhaps considered as completed and no longer required. This then generates new sales for the product as it is, new applications and, possibly some innovation management for market- appropriate modifications.
New markets also reduce the dependence on the markets already developed – whether these are domestic or international. Existing exporters can look at additional international markets whereas new exporters can identify first-time exporter opportunities. This spreads risk by having multiple revenue sources as well as an increase in overall income. Furthermore, some business models are predicated around seasonal cycles that can potentially be extended to all year round through international growth. Business operations and production cycles can be realigned for those with seasonal demand cycles so that there is continual production, delivery and sales processes.
Going global can expand horizons in other areas that will lead to reduced risk and in the mid to long term increase business growth. Through knowledge transfer and know-how businesses can create new partnerships and collaboration for research and development of new products and services that can be applied in the global marketplace. Through partnering with an international counterpart at the outset there is a phenomenal opportunity to bring specific expertise and know-how together, establish wider networks and create new product and service solutions for application across a multitude of markets and sectors.
Alongside adaptability and growth, these all contribute to making the business stronger and more resilient as it moves to being a more robust organization with an increased level of security of business survival. This is paramount for SMEs who need to establish mechanisms to remain competitive with relevant and applicable solutions. The overriding reason to go global, of course, is to improve business potential for expansion and growth – there is always an opportunity to sell something, somewhere. Unearthing just the right opportunity involves more work, of course.
But going global is risky business so how can it help to spread and mitigate risk? Going international is all about preparation and due diligence. Going global requires planning and pertinent issues to be addressed in order to enter a global market place with success. These topics include understanding the market, market entry strategies, finances and payment terms, product / service compliance, packaging, labelling, culture, logistics, to name a few. What is absolutely paramount is in-depth market research which will allow for informed decision-making to enable the scaling-up process to be more linear. Once the market is understood in terms of opportunity it can be examined further for access and viability. Culture and language will play a part in the decision-making and this will influence your route into market. Maintain a focus – just because a number of countries show interest doesn’t mean you’re ready to sell your product everywhere. Patience is key. There needs to be a discipline in how business reacts to enquiries from a country which they know very little about.
With an economic emphasis on boosting exports, as well as technology and innovation, business support for planning strategy, examining opportunity, and ultimately spreading risk is of the utmost importance. By entering the international arena, business can protect themselves against the risk of decline in domestic markets and, most important, significantly improve overall growth potential.
Chapter 9: Expand Products or Services
Large brands are well-known for adding new products to their portfolios. The Coca-Cola Company started with one product and expanded its line to more than 500 brands worldwide, including Sprite, Fanta and Dasani. There are many reasons to expand a product line, most notably to grow your revenues and market share.
What Is Product Expansion?
There are several types of product line expansion:
• Adding new versions of existing products, such as when Coca Cola introduced Diet Coke and Cherry Coke
• Providing upgrades to existing products, which is what Apple does with each new version of the iPhone
• Adding new products to your portfolio. This could be as simple as adding red shirts to your current line of green shirts, or you could follow Apple’s example and sell accessories for the main product – in Apple’s case, a range of adapters, chargers and software applications for the iPhone
According to customer experience optimization company AB Tasty, the reason for product expansion is simple: No company can survive on a single product. There will always be competitors who can make that product cheaper, faster or better. Expanding the product line is one of the strongest ways to minimize this risk.
Boosts Market Share
The more products you have, the greater your chances of reaching a wider audience and purchasing market. Market expansion can help you get a firmer hold of your current market and open your business to a new audience.
For example, suppose you sell a line of swimwear on your e-commerce store. You have loyal customers who return to your store each summer, but they only buy one or two swimsuits a year. By expanding your offer with a line of summer clothing, sunglasses and sun hats, you not only sell more to your current customers, but you also attract new customers who want to buy summer clothes.
Increases Customer Loyalty
Unless you are selling products with a short shelf life, such as food, then at some point, your loyal customers are going to have enough of your product. Expanding your product line gives them fresh opportunities to engage with your brand.
This works on two levels. Selling more products obviously increases your revenue. More significantly, adding a new product line also decreases your overall costs because it’s much cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones. Expanding your product line specifically for your current customers means you can survey them and develop precisely the kind of products your customers want to buy, so you have a ready-made market.
Virtually all products have a life cycle comprising four phases: launch, growth, maturity and decline. The launch and growth phases are represented by a surge of sales, but eventually, the product wears out. This happens for all sorts of reasons – changing trends, competition and obsolescence. No product is immune from market death.
Expanding your product lines means you can maintain traction in the marketplace. As one product reaches the end of its life cycle, another one is at the beginning with massive growth potential, so your business never becomes obsolete.
Improves Visibility and Credibility
Expanding your product line means your business is seen by a much larger audience, or it is seen by existing customers in a different way. The value of this should not be underestimated, reports Forbes. Including more and better quality products as part of your product-development strategy should make your company more visible and more credible as a reputable brand. As you build your credibility, you also build brand recognition and loyalty. It’s a snowball effect that leads to repeat purchases and rave reviews across the entire product line.
Chapter 10: New & Existing Customers
Customer acquisition is a business process of getting new clients to add to the existing database.
Regardless of how good it is, a business has strategies and activities aimed at acquiring new clients. Any business without new clients gets diminishing profits, and that is why all struggle to get more clients. There are many reasons why companies are advertising and doing all the promotional stuff to get new customers. Some of these include increasing sales, adding more profits, and creating comprehensive market coverage.
Here are some benefits of customer acquisition:
Helps Businesses Increase Sales
The main aim of getting new buyers to any business is to increase sales of its products. The reason why you see many adverts and promotional activities going on is the search for profits. Having a business without profits is like running a non-profit organization, which is not the main reason for starting a business.
Acquiring new clients makes a company make more sales, which also increases the profit margins. When you get new customers, they also come with their purchasing power. This situation means if you were getting fewer profits before their arrival, your margins would go up after the new acquisition.
Increases Brand Awareness
One of the main reasons people advertise to get new clients is to increase brand awareness. For example, if your brand is in one geographical area, you will do your best to get it into another region. The activities involved in advertising the product and promoting it to new clients make the brand known in many areas, bringing in more profits. Brand awareness helps your business scale up in new places, increases sales and market share improves brand perception among the target market, and enables it to acquire the audience data. To get this brand awareness initiative to work, you need to gain more clients through different promotional means.
It Helps Maintain a Business
At one time or the other, businesses lose clients. Either they shifted to competitors, changed on using the products, or maybe they passed away. For a company to be safe from such, it needs to be acquiring new customers to create a balance of the existing and absent. When your business fails to find new customers, it ends up losing profits and eventually starts running at a loss. The reason is that the customer’s number will continue diminishing if no effort gets affected to attract fresh buyers and retain the existing ones. Constantly searching for new clients helps your business remain in the market, even if some exit or pass on. Your business will still be making profits and sales regardless of the situation. That is one main reason why we have significant companies surviving for that long. Those that didn’t get into acquisition struggled and failed along the way.
New Customers Help Grow Your Business
Other than profits and sales, new customers will help you grow your business. How is this so? Through purchases, suggestions, feedback, and reviews, customers will, one way or the other, be part of your business growth. Without them, your business may stagnate or fail to continue at all. Customers will inform you how your business is doing; they will appoint mistakes and come with crucial information from all types of competitors, which will improve or make your business run better. Most companies have come up with new products because clients who used to get such products from other companies suggested them. If your business can capture new clients, it can innovate and develop new products as per the new client’s suggestions.
New Customers Help Expand your Business
What happens when you get many new clients than you need? Do you chase them away or expand your company? Of course, you extend your business. That is one importance of acquisition. It helps your company develop to the next level. For example, if you were manufacturing 100 pieces of specific products in a day and then getting additional customers than you can produce, your company will find ways to increase production. This process will involve acquiring new machines, expanding the premises, bringing modern, large capacity machines, etc. By doing so, you end up having a larger company that you started. Most of the businesses you see around started small. However, due to the acquisition of customers, they had to expand to accommodate the demand.
There is only one paramount importance of acquisition: to have more customers, increase sales, and make more profit. The act of making more profit makes other functionalities as expansion and creates more products to rise. If you are new to any business and you will want to grow, start by acquiring new clients for your business. There are many ways of doing so, depending on your enterprise.
Chapter 11: Attract Top Talent
Why is it important to attract talent?
The answer to this very question is very straightforward. You want to grow your business, scale successfully, increase profits, and thrive all around? If being at the top of the ladder matches your goals, you’ll find that a well-made and efficient recruitment funnel, strengthened team, skilled new hires, and boosted brand have a lot to do with it.
So, why is attracting top talent important? Let’s break it down into simple & easy to remember points:
• Saving time and money,
• Obtaining the right skills and knowledge,
• Gaining a competitive advantage,
• Increasing employee engagement and productivity,
• Reducing turnover and enhancing employee retention rates.
Now, inviting the right people in will only build up the bonds among the members you already have on board. It will influence the employee experience and drive all kinds of positive results.
Advantages of External Recruitment
External recruiting opens up opportunities to develop a diverse team of employees. One of the advantages of external hiring is that qualified candidates, some who may have developed a wide range of skills elsewhere, can bring new ideas, perspectives and talent to the organization. Hiring a skilled and experience external candidate may also reduce training costs and give the organization a competitive advantage. External recruitment also can provide new, innovative ideas for management strategies, creating a forward-thinking approach that stimulates both advancement and growth.
Great talent is scarce
The term “war for talent” was coined by McKinsey’s Steven Hankin in 1997 and popularized by the book of that name in 2001. It refers to the increasingly fierce competition to attract and retain employees at a time when too few workers are available to replace the baby boomers now departing the workforce in advanced economies.
Fast forward to the wake of the Great Recession, and the war for talent turned into the war for jobs. In economies gripped by financial crises, unemployment hit levels not seen since the early 1980s, so there was no shortage of applicants for many openings. When Walmart launched a new Washington, DC, store in 2013, for example, it received 23,000 applications for 600 positions.
It was harder to get entry-level work there than to be accepted by Harvard: 2.6 percent of Walmart applicants made it through, as opposed to 6.1 percent for the Ivy League university.
Yet this didn’t end the war for talent. In medium- and higher-complexity positions, where stronger performers have an increasingly disproportionate bottom-line impact, the opposite was true. In those uncertain times, gainfully employed talent became less likely to change employers, so people who had an advantage going into the crisis had an even bigger one. Further, pressure to reduce HR costs made it harder to identify and attract the most talented people. Everything suggests that the war for talent will rage on. “Failure to attract and retain top talent” was the number-one issue in the Conference Board’s 2016 survey of global CEOs—before economic growth and competitive intensity. In more complex jobs, this will continue to be true as baby boomers (and their long experience) exit the workforce and technology demands more sophisticated skills.
Chapter 12: Greater Sustainability
In recent years, the issue of sustainability has increasingly been drawn to the center of social, economic, and political debate. In response to this, businesses are finally realizing the wider impact they have on society. Many growing companies are no longer focusing exclusively on achieving profit, and are instead looking at how their organization can contribute to the sustainable development of the way we live and work.
Indeed, this realization from companies has been a long process, and we are now seeing an increasing awareness about these issues for a number of reasons. The younger generations are more aware of sustainability and, as a result, they are no longer willing to work for companies that are not perceived as sustainable. It has therefore been more and more important for companies that want to continue to attract talent to grow in a new, more sustainable direction.
Also, on a much broader scale, there is no doubt that this pandemic has revitalized consciences – people’s awareness of issues around the society and the environment have certainly been intensified over the past year. It is precisely this growing focus on social and environmental challenges that is ultimately bringing companies closer to some of the logics of the non-profit world.
However, it has and will continue to be difficult for companies to achieve these goals by themselves. In order to make significant changes, it is important that several players work together. These include businesses, the non-profit world, public administrations and civil society. Partnerships are essential because joining forces can make a significant impact. As such, we are seeing a situation where “traditional” companies are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on society, and non-profit organisations are using business models typical of the world of corporations. These two sectors are now merging and working together for the greater good of the environment.
Growth Strategy – Workshop 1 – Why Grow?
- Increase Sales
- Increase Market Share
- Greater Power to Control the Market
- Increase Profits
- Economies of Scale
- Protection from the Risk of Takeover
- Share Risk Through Diversification
- Attract Customers
- Expand Products & Services
- Attract Top Talent
- Greater Sustainability
Welcome to Appleton Greene and thank you for enrolling on the Growth Strategy corporate training program. You will be learning through our unique facilitation via distance-learning method, which will enable you to practically implement everything that you learn academically. The methods and materials used in your program have been designed and developed to ensure that you derive the maximum benefits and enjoyment possible. We hope that you find the program challenging and fun to do. However, if you have never been a distance-learner before, you may be experiencing some trepidation at the task before you. So we will get you started by giving you some basic information and guidance on how you can make the best use of the modules, how you should manage the materials and what you should be doing as you work through them. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction and help you to become an effective distance-learner. Take a few hours or so to study this guide and your guide to tutorial support for students, while making notes, before you start to study in earnest.
You will need to locate a quiet and private place to study, preferably a room where you can easily be isolated from external disturbances or distractions. Make sure the room is well-lit and incorporates a relaxed, pleasant feel. If you can spoil yourself within your study environment, you will have much more of a chance to ensure that you are always in the right frame of mind when you do devote time to study. For example, a nice fire, the ability to play soft soothing background music, soft but effective lighting, perhaps a nice view if possible and a good size desk with a comfortable chair. Make sure that your family know when you are studying and understand your study rules. Your study environment is very important. The ideal situation, if at all possible, is to have a separate study, which can be devoted to you. If this is not possible then you will need to pay a lot more attention to developing and managing your study schedule, because it will affect other people as well as yourself. The better your study environment, the more productive you will be.
Study tools & rules
Try and make sure that your study tools are sufficient and in good working order. You will need to have access to a computer, scanner and printer, with access to the internet. You will need a very comfortable chair, which supports your lower back, and you will need a good filing system. It can be very frustrating if you are spending valuable study time trying to fix study tools that are unreliable, or unsuitable for the task. Make sure that your study tools are up to date. You will also need to consider some study rules. Some of these rules will apply to you and will be intended to help you to be more disciplined about when and how you study. This distance-learning guide will help you and after you have read it you can put some thought into what your study rules should be. You will also need to negotiate some study rules for your family, friends or anyone who lives with you. They too will need to be disciplined in order to ensure that they can support you while you study. It is important to ensure that your family and friends are an integral part of your study team. Having their support and encouragement can prove to be a crucial contribution to your successful completion of the program. Involve them in as much as you can.
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes or workshops, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. But unlike traditional internal training courses, it is the student’s responsibility, with a distance-learning program, to ensure that they manage their own study contribution. This requires strong self-discipline and self-motivation skills and there must be a clear will to succeed. Those students who are used to managing themselves, are good at managing others and who enjoy working in isolation, are more likely to be good distance-learners. It is also important to be aware of the main reasons why you are studying and of the main objectives that you are hoping to achieve as a result. You will need to remind yourself of these objectives at times when you need to motivate yourself. Never lose sight of your long-term goals and your short-term objectives. There is nobody available here to pamper you, or to look after you, or to spoon-feed you with information, so you will need to find ways to encourage and appreciate yourself while you are studying. Make sure that you chart your study progress, so that you can be sure of your achievements and re-evaluate your goals and objectives regularly.
Appleton Greene training programs are in all cases post-graduate programs. Consequently, you should already have obtained a business-related degree and be an experienced learner. You should therefore already be aware of your study strengths and weaknesses. For example, which time of the day are you at your most productive? Are you a lark or an owl? What study methods do you respond to the most? Are you a consistent learner? How do you discipline yourself? How do you ensure that you enjoy yourself while studying? It is important to understand yourself as a learner and so some self-assessment early on will be necessary if you are to apply yourself correctly. Perform a SWOT analysis on yourself as a student. List your internal strengths and weaknesses as a student and your external opportunities and threats. This will help you later on when you are creating a study plan. You can then incorporate features within your study plan that can ensure that you are playing to your strengths, while compensating for your weaknesses. You can also ensure that you make the most of your opportunities, while avoiding the potential threats to your success.
Accepting responsibility as a student
Training programs invariably require a significant investment, both in terms of what they cost and in the time that you need to contribute to study and the responsibility for successful completion of training programs rests entirely with the student. This is never more apparent than when a student is learning via distance-learning. Accepting responsibility as a student is an important step towards ensuring that you can successfully complete your training program. It is easy to instantly blame other people or factors when things go wrong. But the fact of the matter is that if a failure is your failure, then you have the power to do something about it, it is entirely in your own hands. If it is always someone else’s failure, then you are powerless to do anything about it. All students study in entirely different ways, this is because we are all individuals and what is right for one student, is not necessarily right for another. In order to succeed, you will have to accept personal responsibility for finding a way to plan, implement and manage a personal study plan that works for you. If you do not succeed, you only have yourself to blame.
By far the most critical contribution to stress, is the feeling of not being in control. In the absence of planning we tend to be reactive and can stumble from pillar to post in the hope that things will turn out fine in the end. Invariably they don’t! In order to be in control, we need to have firm ideas about how and when we want to do things. We also need to consider as many possible eventualities as we can, so that we are prepared for them when they happen. Prescriptive Change, is far easier to manage and control, than Emergent Change. The same is true with distance-learning. It is much easier and much more enjoyable, if you feel that you are in control and that things are going to plan. Even when things do go wrong, you are prepared for them and can act accordingly without any unnecessary stress. It is important therefore that you do take time to plan your studies properly.
Once you have developed a clear study plan, it is of equal importance to ensure that you manage the implementation of it. Most of us usually enjoy planning, but it is usually during implementation when things go wrong. Targets are not met and we do not understand why. Sometimes we do not even know if targets are being met. It is not enough for us to conclude that the study plan just failed. If it is failing, you will need to understand what you can do about it. Similarly if your study plan is succeeding, it is still important to understand why, so that you can improve upon your success. You therefore need to have guidelines for self-assessment so that you can be consistent with performance improvement throughout the program. If you manage things correctly, then your performance should constantly improve throughout the program.
Study objectives & tasks
The first place to start is developing your program objectives. These should feature your reasons for undertaking the training program in order of priority. Keep them succinct and to the point in order to avoid confusion. Do not just write the first things that come into your head because they are likely to be too similar to each other. Make a list of possible departmental headings, such as: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing and Production. Then brainstorm for ideas by listing as many things that you want to achieve under each heading and later re-arrange these things in order of priority. Finally, select the top item from each department heading and choose these as your program objectives. Try and restrict yourself to five because it will enable you to focus clearly. It is likely that the other things that you listed will be achieved if each of the top objectives are achieved. If this does not prove to be the case, then simply work through the process again.
As a guide, the Appleton Greene Growth Strategy corporate training program should take 12-18 months to complete, depending upon your availability and current commitments. The reason why there is such a variance in time estimates is because every student is an individual, with differing productivity levels and different commitments. These differentiations are then exaggerated by the fact that this is a distance-learning program, which incorporates the practical integration of academic theory as an as a part of the training program. Consequently all of the project studies are real, which means that important decisions and compromises need to be made. You will want to get things right and will need to be patient with your expectations in order to ensure that they are. We would always recommend that you are prudent with your own task and time forecasts, but you still need to develop them and have a clear indication of what are realistic expectations in your case. With reference to your time planning: consider the time that you can realistically dedicate towards study with the program every week; calculate how long it should take you to complete the program, using the guidelines featured here; then break the program down into logical modules and allocate a suitable proportion of time to each of them, these will be your milestones; you can create a time plan by using a spreadsheet on your computer, or a personal organizer such as MS Outlook, you could also use a financial forecasting software; break your time forecasts down into manageable chunks of time, the more specific you can be, the more productive and accurate your time management will be; finally, use formulas where possible to do your time calculations for you, because this will help later on when your forecasts need to change in line with actual performance. With reference to your task planning: refer to your list of tasks that need to be undertaken in order to achieve your program objectives; with reference to your time plan, calculate when each task should be implemented; remember that you are not estimating when your objectives will be achieved, but when you will need to focus upon implementing the corresponding tasks; you also need to ensure that each task is implemented in conjunction with the associated training modules which are relevant; then break each single task down into a list of specific to do’s, say approximately ten to do’s for each task and enter these into your study plan; once again you could use MS Outlook to incorporate both your time and task planning and this could constitute your study plan; you could also use a project management software like MS Project. You should now have a clear and realistic forecast detailing when you can expect to be able to do something about undertaking the tasks to achieve your program objectives.
It is one thing to develop your study forecast, it is quite another to monitor your progress. Ultimately it is less important whether you achieve your original study forecast and more important that you update it so that it constantly remains realistic in line with your performance. As you begin to work through the program, you will begin to have more of an idea about your own personal performance and productivity levels as a distance-learner. Once you have completed your first study module, you should re-evaluate your study forecast for both time and tasks, so that they reflect your actual performance level achieved. In order to achieve this you must first time yourself while training by using an alarm clock. Set the alarm for hourly intervals and make a note of how far you have come within that time. You can then make a note of your actual performance on your study plan and then compare your performance against your forecast. Then consider the reasons that have contributed towards your performance level, whether they are positive or negative and make a considered adjustment to your future forecasts as a result. Given time, you should start achieving your forecasts regularly.
With reference to time management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual time taken in your study plan; consider your successes with time-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; consider your failures with time-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future time planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to time planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your time expectations. You need to be consistent with your time management, otherwise you will never complete your studies. This will either be because you are not contributing enough time to your studies, or you will become less efficient with the time that you do allocate to your studies. Remember, if you are not in control of your studies, they can just become yet another cause of stress for you.
With reference to your task management: time yourself while you are studying and make a note of the actual tasks that you have undertaken in your study plan; consider your successes with task-efficiency and the reasons for the success in each case; take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; consider your failures with task-efficiency and the reasons for the failures in each case and take this into consideration when reviewing future task planning; re-evaluate your study forecast in relation to task planning for the remainder of your training program to ensure that you continue to be realistic about your task expectations. You need to be consistent with your task management, otherwise you will never know whether you are achieving your program objectives or not.
Keeping in touch
You will have access to qualified and experienced professors and tutors who are responsible for providing tutorial support for your particular training program. So don’t be shy about letting them know how you are getting on. We keep electronic records of all tutorial support emails so that professors and tutors can review previous correspondence before considering an individual response. It also means that there is a record of all communications between you and your professors and tutors and this helps to avoid any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation. If you have a problem relating to the program, share it with them via email. It is likely that they have come across the same problem before and are usually able to make helpful suggestions and steer you in the right direction. To learn more about when and how to use tutorial support, please refer to the Tutorial Support section of this student information guide. This will help you to ensure that you are making the most of tutorial support that is available to you and will ultimately contribute towards your success and enjoyment with your training program.
Work colleagues and family
You should certainly discuss your program study progress with your colleagues, friends and your family. Appleton Greene training programs are very practical. They require you to seek information from other people, to plan, develop and implement processes with other people and to achieve feedback from other people in relation to viability and productivity. You will therefore have plenty of opportunities to test your ideas and enlist the views of others. People tend to be sympathetic towards distance-learners, so don’t bottle it all up in yourself. Get out there and share it! It is also likely that your family and colleagues are going to benefit from your labors with the program, so they are likely to be much more interested in being involved than you might think. Be bold about delegating work to those who might benefit themselves. This is a great way to achieve understanding and commitment from people who you may later rely upon for process implementation. Share your experiences with your friends and family.
Making it relevant
The key to successful learning is to make it relevant to your own individual circumstances. At all times you should be trying to make bridges between the content of the program and your own situation. Whether you achieve this through quiet reflection or through interactive discussion with your colleagues, client partners or your family, remember that it is the most important and rewarding aspect of translating your studies into real self-improvement. You should be clear about how you want the program to benefit you. This involves setting clear study objectives in relation to the content of the course in terms of understanding, concepts, completing research or reviewing activities and relating the content of the modules to your own situation. Your objectives may understandably change as you work through the program, in which case you should enter the revised objectives on your study plan so that you have a permanent reminder of what you are trying to achieve, when and why.
Prepare your study environment, your study tools and rules.
Undertake detailed self-assessment in terms of your ability as a learner.
Create a format for your study plan.
Consider your study objectives and tasks.
Create a study forecast.
Assess your study performance.
Re-evaluate your study forecast.
Be consistent when managing your study plan.
Use your Appleton Greene Certified Learning Provider (CLP) for tutorial support.
Make sure you keep in touch with those around you.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. They are implemented over a sustainable period of time and professional support is consistently provided by qualified learning providers and specialist consultants.
You will have a designated Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and an Accredited Consultant and we encourage you to communicate with them as much as possible. In all cases tutorial support is provided online because we can then keep a record of all communications to ensure that tutorial support remains consistent. You would also be forwarding your work to the tutorial support unit for evaluation and assessment. You will receive individual feedback on all of the work that you undertake on a one-to-one basis, together with specific recommendations for anything that may need to be changed in order to achieve a pass with merit or a pass with distinction and you then have as many opportunities as you may need to re-submit project studies until they meet with the required standard. Consequently the only reason that you should really fail (CLP) is if you do not do the work. It makes no difference to us whether a student takes 12 months or 18 months to complete the program, what matters is that in all cases the same quality standard will have been achieved.
Please forward all of your future emails to the designated (CLP) Tutorial Support Unit email address that has been provided and please do not duplicate or copy your emails to other AGC email accounts as this will just cause unnecessary administration. Please note that emails are always answered as quickly as possible but you will need to allow a period of up to 20 business days for responses to general tutorial support emails during busy periods, because emails are answered strictly within the order in which they are received. You will also need to allow a period of up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Please therefore kindly allow for this within your time planning. All communications are managed online via email because it enables tutorial service support managers to review other communications which have been received before responding and it ensures that there is a copy of all communications retained on file for future reference. All communications will be stored within your personal (CLP) study file here at Appleton Greene throughout your designated study period. If you need any assistance or clarification at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us by forwarding an email and remember that we are here to help. If you have any questions, please list and number your questions succinctly and you can then be sure of receiving specific answers to each and every query.
It takes approximately 1 Year to complete the Growth Strategy corporate training program, incorporating 12 x 6-hour monthly workshops. Each student will also need to contribute approximately 4 hours per week over 1 Year of their personal time. Students can study from home or work at their own pace and are responsible for managing their own study plan. There are no formal examinations and students are evaluated and assessed based upon their project study submissions, together with the quality of their internal analysis and supporting documents. They can contribute more time towards study when they have the time to do so and can contribute less time when they are busy. All students tend to be in full time employment while studying and the Growth Strategy program is purposely designed to accommodate this, so there is plenty of flexibility in terms of time management. It makes no difference to us at Appleton Greene, whether individuals take 12-18 months to complete this program. What matters is that in all cases the same standard of quality will have been achieved with the standard and bespoke programs that have been developed.
Distance Learning Guide
The distance learning guide should be your first port of call when starting your training program. It will help you when you are planning how and when to study, how to create the right environment and how to establish the right frame of mind. If you can lay the foundations properly during the planning stage, then it will contribute to your enjoyment and productivity while training later. The guide helps to change your lifestyle in order to accommodate time for study and to cultivate good study habits. It helps you to chart your progress so that you can measure your performance and achieve your goals. It explains the tools that you will need for study and how to make them work. It also explains how to translate academic theory into practical reality. Spend some time now working through your distance learning guide and make sure that you have firm foundations in place so that you can make the most of your distance learning program. There is no requirement for you to attend training workshops or classes at Appleton Greene offices. The entire program is undertaken online, program course manuals and project studies are administered via the Appleton Greene web site and via email, so you are able to study at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home or office as long as you have a computer and access to the internet.
How To Study
The how to study guide provides students with a clear understanding of the Appleton Greene facilitation via distance learning training methods and enables students to obtain a clear overview of the training program content. It enables students to understand the step-by-step training methods used by Appleton Greene and how course manuals are integrated with project studies. It explains the research and development that is required and the need to provide evidence and references to support your statements. It also enables students to understand precisely what will be required of them in order to achieve a pass with merit and a pass with distinction for individual project studies and provides useful guidance on how to be innovative and creative when developing your Unique Program Proposition (UPP).
Tutorial support for the Appleton Greene Growth Strategy corporate training program is provided online either through the Appleton Greene Client Support Portal (CSP), or via email. All tutorial support requests are facilitated by a designated Program Administration Manager (PAM). They are responsible for deciding which professor or tutor is the most appropriate option relating to the support required and then the tutorial support request is forwarded onto them. Once the professor or tutor has completed the tutorial support request and answered any questions that have been asked, this communication is then returned to the student via email by the designated Program Administration Manager (PAM). This enables all tutorial support, between students, professors and tutors, to be facilitated by the designated Program Administration Manager (PAM) efficiently and securely through the email account. You will therefore need to allow a period of up to 20 business days for responses to general support queries and up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies, because all tutorial support requests are answered strictly within the order in which they are received. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Consequently you need to put some thought into the management of your tutorial support procedure in order to ensure that your study plan is feasible and to obtain the maximum possible benefit from tutorial support during your period of study. Please retain copies of your tutorial support emails for future reference. Please ensure that ALL of your tutorial support emails are set out using the format as suggested within your guide to tutorial support. Your tutorial support emails need to be referenced clearly to the specific part of the course manual or project study which you are working on at any given time. You also need to list and number any questions that you would like to ask, up to a maximum of five questions within each tutorial support email. Remember the more specific you can be with your questions the more specific your answers will be too and this will help you to avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or duplication. The guide to tutorial support is intended to help you to understand how and when to use support in order to ensure that you get the most out of your training program. Appleton Greene training programs are designed to enable you to do things for yourself. They provide you with a structure or a framework and we use tutorial support to facilitate students while they practically implement what they learn. In other words, we are enabling students to do things for themselves. The benefits of distance learning via facilitation are considerable and are much more sustainable in the long-term than traditional short-term knowledge sharing programs. Consequently you should learn how and when to use tutorial support so that you can maximize the benefits from your learning experience with Appleton Greene. This guide describes the purpose of each training function and how to use them and how to use tutorial support in relation to each aspect of the training program. It also provides useful tips and guidance with regard to best practice.
Tutorial Support Tips
Students are often unsure about how and when to use tutorial support with Appleton Greene. This Tip List will help you to understand more about how to achieve the most from using tutorial support. Refer to it regularly to ensure that you are continuing to use the service properly. Tutorial support is critical to the success of your training experience, but it is important to understand when and how to use it in order to maximize the benefit that you receive. It is no coincidence that those students who succeed are those that learn how to be positive, proactive and productive when using tutorial support.
Be positive and friendly with your tutorial support emails
Remember that if you forward an email to the tutorial support unit, you are dealing with real people. “Do unto others as you would expect others to do unto you”. If you are positive, complimentary and generally friendly in your emails, you will generate a similar response in return. This will be more enjoyable, productive and rewarding for you in the long-term.
Think about the impression that you want to create
Every time that you communicate, you create an impression, which can be either positive or negative, so put some thought into the impression that you want to create. Remember that copies of all tutorial support emails are stored electronically and tutors will always refer to prior correspondence before responding to any current emails. Over a period of time, a general opinion will be arrived at in relation to your character, attitude and ability. Try to manage your own frustrations, mood swings and temperament professionally, without involving the tutorial support team. Demonstrating frustration or a lack of patience is a weakness and will be interpreted as such. The good thing about communicating in writing, is that you will have the time to consider your content carefully, you can review it and proof-read it before sending your email to Appleton Greene and this should help you to communicate more professionally, consistently and to avoid any unnecessary knee-jerk reactions to individual situations as and when they may arise. Please also remember that the CLP Tutorial Support Unit will not just be responsible for evaluating and assessing the quality of your work, they will also be responsible for providing recommendations to other learning providers and to client contacts within the Appleton Greene global client network, so do be in control of your own emotions and try to create a good impression.
Remember that quality is preferred to quantity
Please remember that when you send an email to the tutorial support team, you are not using Twitter or Text Messaging. Try not to forward an email every time that you have a thought. This will not prove to be productive either for you or for the tutorial support team. Take time to prepare your communications properly, as if you were writing a professional letter to a business colleague and make a list of queries that you are likely to have and then incorporate them within one email, say once every month, so that the tutorial support team can understand more about context, application and your methodology for study. Get yourself into a consistent routine with your tutorial support requests and use the tutorial support template provided with ALL of your emails. The (CLP) Tutorial Support Unit will not spoon-feed you with information. They need to be able to evaluate and assess your tutorial support requests carefully and professionally.
Be specific about your questions in order to receive specific answers
Try not to write essays by thinking as you are writing tutorial support emails. The tutorial support unit can be unclear about what in fact you are asking, or what you are looking to achieve. Be specific about asking questions that you want answers to. Number your questions. You will then receive specific answers to each and every question. This is the main purpose of tutorial support via email.
Keep a record of your tutorial support emails
It is important that you keep a record of all tutorial support emails that are forwarded to you. You can then refer to them when necessary and it avoids any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation.
Individual training workshops or telephone support
Please be advised that Appleton Greene does not provide separate or individual tutorial support meetings, workshops, or provide telephone support for individual students. Appleton Greene is an equal opportunities learning and service provider and we are therefore understandably bound to treat all students equally. We cannot therefore broker special financial or study arrangements with individual students regardless of the circumstances. All tutorial support is provided online and this enables Appleton Greene to keep a record of all communications between students, professors and tutors on file for future reference, in accordance with our quality management procedure and your terms and conditions of enrolment. All tutorial support is provided online via email because it enables us to have time to consider support content carefully, it ensures that you receive a considered and detailed response to your queries. You can number questions that you would like to ask, which relate to things that you do not understand or where clarification may be required. You can then be sure of receiving specific answers to each individual query. You will also then have a record of these communications and of all tutorial support, which has been provided to you. This makes tutorial support administration more productive by avoiding any unnecessary duplication, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation.
Tutorial Support Email Format
You should use this tutorial support format if you need to request clarification or assistance while studying with your training program. Please note that ALL of your tutorial support request emails should use the same format. You should therefore set up a standard email template, which you can then use as and when you need to. Emails that are forwarded to Appleton Greene, which do not use the following format, may be rejected and returned to you by the (CLP) Program Administration Manager. A detailed response will then be forwarded to you via email usually within 20 business days of receipt for general support queries and 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies. This does not include weekends or public holidays. Your tutorial support request, together with the corresponding TSU reply, will then be saved and stored within your electronic TSU file at Appleton Greene for future reference.
Subject line of your email
Please insert: Appleton Greene (CLP) Tutorial Support Request: (Your Full Name) (Date), within the subject line of your email.
Main body of your email
1. Appleton Greene Certified Learning Provider (CLP) Tutorial Support Request
2. Your Full Name
3. Date of TS request
4. Preferred email address
5. Backup email address
6. Course manual page name or number (reference)
7. Project study page name or number (reference)
Subject of enquiry
Please insert a maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Briefly outline the subject matter of your inquiry, or what your questions relate to.
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Maximum of 50 words (please be succinct)
Please note that a maximum of 5 questions is permitted with each individual tutorial support request email.
* List the questions that you want to ask first, then re-arrange them in order of priority. Make sure that you reference them, where necessary, to the course manuals or project studies.
* Make sure that you are specific about your questions and number them. Try to plan the content within your emails to make sure that it is relevant.
* Make sure that your tutorial support emails are set out correctly, using the Tutorial Support Email Format provided here.
* Save a copy of your email and incorporate the date sent after the subject title. Keep your tutorial support emails within the same file and in date order for easy reference.
* Allow up to 20 business days for a response to general tutorial support emails and up to 30 business days for the evaluation and assessment of project studies, because detailed individual responses will be made in all cases and tutorial support emails are answered strictly within the order in which they are received.
* Emails can and do get lost. So if you have not received a reply within the appropriate time, forward another copy or a reminder to the tutorial support unit to be sure that it has been received but do not forward reminders unless the appropriate time has elapsed.
* When you receive a reply, save it immediately featuring the date of receipt after the subject heading for easy reference. In most cases the tutorial support unit replies to your questions individually, so you will have a record of the questions that you asked as well as the answers offered. With project studies however, separate emails are usually forwarded by the tutorial support unit, so do keep a record of your own original emails as well.
* Remember to be positive and friendly in your emails. You are dealing with real people who will respond to the same things that you respond to.
* Try not to repeat questions that have already been asked in previous emails. If this happens the tutorial support unit will probably just refer you to the appropriate answers that have already been provided within previous emails.
* If you lose your tutorial support email records you can write to Appleton Greene to receive a copy of your tutorial support file, but a separate administration charge may be levied for this service.
How To Study
Your Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and Accredited Consultant can help you to plan a task list for getting started so that you can be clear about your direction and your priorities in relation to your training program. It is also a good way to introduce yourself to the tutorial support team.
Planning your study environment
Your study conditions are of great importance and will have a direct effect on how much you enjoy your training program. Consider how much space you will have, whether it is comfortable and private and whether you are likely to be disturbed. The study tools and facilities at your disposal are also important to the success of your distance-learning experience. Your tutorial support unit can help with useful tips and guidance, regardless of your starting position. It is important to get this right before you start working on your training program.
Planning your program objectives
It is important that you have a clear list of study objectives, in order of priority, before you start working on your training program. Your tutorial support unit can offer assistance here to ensure that your study objectives have been afforded due consideration and priority.
Planning how and when to study
Distance-learners are freed from the necessity of attending regular classes, since they can study in their own way, at their own pace and for their own purposes. This approach is designed to let you study efficiently away from the traditional classroom environment. It is important however, that you plan how and when to study, so that you are making the most of your natural attributes, strengths and opportunities. Your tutorial support unit can offer assistance and useful tips to ensure that you are playing to your strengths.
Planning your study tasks
You should have a clear understanding of the study tasks that you should be undertaking and the priority associated with each task. These tasks should also be integrated with your program objectives. The distance learning guide and the guide to tutorial support for students should help you here, but if you need any clarification or assistance, please contact your tutorial support unit.
Planning your time
You will need to allocate specific times during your calendar when you intend to study if you are to have a realistic chance of completing your program on time. You are responsible for planning and managing your own study time, so it is important that you are successful with this. Your tutorial support unit can help you with this if your time plan is not working.
Keeping in touch
Consistency is the key here. If you communicate too frequently in short bursts, or too infrequently with no pattern, then your management ability with your studies will be questioned, both by you and by your tutorial support unit. It is obvious when a student is in control and when one is not and this will depend how able you are at sticking with your study plan. Inconsistency invariably leads to in-completion.
Charting your progress
Your tutorial support team can help you to chart your own study progress. Refer to your distance learning guide for further details.
Making it work
To succeed, all that you will need to do is apply yourself to undertaking your training program and interpreting it correctly. Success or failure lies in your hands and your hands alone, so be sure that you have a strategy for making it work. Your Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and Accredited Consultant can guide you through the process of program planning, development and implementation.
Interpretation is often unique to the individual but it can be improved and even quantified by implementing consistent interpretation methods. Interpretation can be affected by outside interference such as family members, TV, or the Internet, or simply by other thoughts which are demanding priority in our minds. One thing that can improve our productivity is using recognized reading methods. This helps us to focus and to be more structured when reading information for reasons of importance, rather than relaxation.
When reading through course manuals for the first time, subconsciously set your reading speed to be just fast enough that you cannot dwell on individual words or tables. With practice, you should be able to read an A4 sheet of paper in one minute. You will not achieve much in the way of a detailed understanding, but your brain will retain a useful overview. This overview will be important later on and will enable you to keep individual issues in perspective with a more generic picture because speed reading appeals to the memory part of the brain. Do not worry about what you do or do not remember at this stage.
Once you have speed read everything, you can then start work in earnest. You now need to read a particular section of your course manual thoroughly, by making detailed notes while you read. This process is called Content Reading and it will help to consolidate your understanding and interpretation of the information that has been provided.
Making structured notes on the course manuals
When you are content reading, you should be making detailed notes, which are both structured and informative. Make these notes in a MS Word document on your computer, because you can then amend and update these as and when you deem it to be necessary. List your notes under three headings: 1. Interpretation – 2. Questions – 3. Tasks. The purpose of the 1st section is to clarify your interpretation by writing it down. The purpose of the 2nd section is to list any questions that the issue raises for you. The purpose of the 3rd section is to list any tasks that you should undertake as a result. Anyone who has graduated with a business-related degree should already be familiar with this process.
Organizing structured notes separately
You should then transfer your notes to a separate study notebook, preferably one that enables easy referencing, such as a MS Word Document, a MS Excel Spreadsheet, a MS Access Database, or a personal organizer on your cell phone. Transferring your notes allows you to have the opportunity of cross-checking and verifying them, which assists considerably with understanding and interpretation. You will also find that the better you are at doing this, the more chance you will have of ensuring that you achieve your study objectives.
Question your understanding
Do challenge your understanding. Explain things to yourself in your own words by writing things down.
Clarifying your understanding
If you are at all unsure, forward an email to your tutorial support unit and they will help to clarify your understanding.
Question your interpretation
Do challenge your interpretation. Qualify your interpretation by writing it down.
Clarifying your interpretation
If you are at all unsure, forward an email to your tutorial support unit and they will help to clarify your interpretation.
The student will need to successfully complete the project study and all of the exercises relating to the Growth Strategy corporate training program, achieving a pass with merit or distinction in each case, in order to qualify as an Accredited Growth Strategy Specialist (AGSS). All monthly workshops need to be tried and tested within your company. These project studies can be completed in your own time and at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home or office. There are no formal examinations, assessment is based upon the successful completion of the project studies. They are called project studies because, unlike case studies, these projects are not theoretical, they incorporate real program processes that need to be properly researched and developed. The project studies assist us in measuring your understanding and interpretation of the training program and enable us to assess qualification merits. All of the project studies are based entirely upon the content within the training program and they enable you to integrate what you have learnt into your corporate training practice.
Growth Strategy – Grading Contribution
Project Study – Grading Contribution
Customer Service – 10%
E-business – 05%
Finance – 10%
Globalization – 10%
Human Resources – 10%
Information Technology – 10%
Legal – 05%
Management – 10%
Marketing – 10%
Production – 10%
Education – 05%
Logistics – 05%
TOTAL GRADING – 100%
A mark of 90% = Pass with Distinction.
A mark of 75% = Pass with Merit.
A mark of less than 75% = Fail.
If you fail to achieve a mark of 75% with a project study, you will receive detailed feedback from the Certified Learning Provider (CLP) and/or Accredited Consultant, together with a list of tasks which you will need to complete, in order to ensure that your project study meets with the minimum quality standard that is required by Appleton Greene. You can then re-submit your project study for further evaluation and assessment. Indeed you can re-submit as many drafts of your project studies as you need to, until such a time as they eventually meet with the required standard by Appleton Greene, so you need not worry about this, it is all part of the learning process.
When marking project studies, Appleton Greene is looking for sufficient evidence of the following:
Pass with merit
A satisfactory level of program understanding
A satisfactory level of program interpretation
A satisfactory level of project study content presentation
A satisfactory level of Unique Program Proposition (UPP) quality
A satisfactory level of the practical integration of academic theory
Pass with distinction
An exceptional level of program understanding
An exceptional level of program interpretation
An exceptional level of project study content presentation
An exceptional level of Unique Program Proposition (UPP) quality
An exceptional level of the practical integration of academic theory
“The sales secrets of high-growth companies
May 24, 2016,
Mckinsey & Company.
What distinguishes sales organizations at fast-growing companies from their lagging peers? In a wide-ranging survey of more than 1,000 companies, we unearthed five meaningful differences:
1. Commitment to the future
That the world is changing ever more quickly may be a cliché, but that makes it no less true: all sales leaders know that they need to anticipate changes that could turn into opportunities or threats. Yet the best leaders move beyond acknowledgement to commitment.
They make trend analysis a formal part of the sales process through systematic investments of time, money, and people. Building and sustaining the capability to take a forward-looking view of the market is not easy. In discussions with more than 200 sales leaders while researching our new book, Sales Growth, two common characteristics emerged: the mind-set of sales leadership and resource commitment.
Sales leaders must consistently monitor the macro-environment in search of sales opportunities, no easy task given the relentless pressure to hit near-term targets. Forward planning must be part of someone’s job description—not just part of top management’s lengthy to-do list—with sufficient resources to take advantage of the best opportunities. Companies have to be willing to take risks now to create sales capacity long before the revenue will materialize. More than half of the fast-growing companies1 we analyzed look at least one year out, and 10 percent look more than three years out.
After planning, sales leaders aren’t afraid to put their money where they think the growth will be: 45 percent of fast-growing companies invest more than 6 percent of their sales budget on activities supporting goals that are at least a year out—a significant commitment in an environment where sales leaders fight for each dollar of investment.
2. Focus on key aspects of digital
Successful brands don’t just “do digital”; they use their full arsenal of capabilities to massively increase the effectiveness of their sales force and to transform the customer buying experience to be “digital first.” It pays off: digital channels provided at least a fifth of 2015 revenues for 41 percent of the fast-growing companies we surveyed—both business-to- business and business-to-consumer—compared with just 31 percent at slow-growing companies.
This trend is only becoming more important, as almost two-thirds of all US retail sales by 2017 will involve some form of online research, consideration, or purchase.
When it comes to customer experience, leading organizations are building out digital routes to market or augmenting traditional direct or indirect sales with digital. For traditional software companies, the focus on SaaS-based products is driving a change toward a digital sales experience where they discover, demo, and trial, all within a few clicks online. Many industrial companies are seeing their products also sold in external marketplaces, which is prompting them to build out their own e-commerce platforms to directly shape the customer experience.
Sales leaders are especially strong at harnessing digital tools and capacities to support the sales organization. Fast-growing companies are more effective than slower-growing ones at using digital tools and capabilities to support the sales organization (43 percent versus 30 percent). They tend to focus on three fronts:
First, they arm sales teams with digital tools that can quickly deliver relevant and usable insights. Second, they treat partners as an extension of the sales force and invest in collaboration tools to improve the flow of data between organizations. Third, they recognize the potential for big micromarket or macrotrend analyses to improve planning and capture opportunities most effectively. As the technology emerges, they are making targeted investments in tools, technologies, and talent to make the most of these opportunities. Success in digital comes from fanatical optimization—not as a one-off project, but as a continuous process. It comes from harnessing mobile technologies to drive growth, understanding how customers use and switch between the mobile channel and other channels. And it comes from integrating digital into a great omnichannel experience that spans marketing to post-purchase.
3. Harnessing of the full range of sales analytics
Only now is the promise of advanced analytics catching up to the hype. Take customer analytics. Companies that use it extensively see profit improvements 126 percent higher than competitors who don’t. And when it comes to sales improvements through the extensive use of advanced analytics, the difference is even larger: 131 percent.
The value of advanced analytics is wide ranging, but where sales leaders excel against their peers is in making better decisions, managing accounts, uncovering insights into sales and deal opportunities, and sales strategy. In particular, they are shifting from analysis of historical data to being more predictive. They use sophisticated analytics to decide not only what the best opportunities are but also which ones will help minimize risk. In fact, in these areas three quarters of fast-growing companies believe themselves to be above average, while between 53 and 61 percent of slow-growing companies hold the same view.
But even among fast-growing companies, only just over half—53 percent—claim to be moderately or extremely effective in using analytics to make decisions. For slow-growing companies, it drops to a little over a third. This indicates that there remains significant untapped potential in sales analytics.
4. Investment in people
A rigorous focus on sales-force training is a clear differentiator between the fast- and slow-growing companies we surveyed. Just under half the fast growers spend significant time and money on sales-force training, compared to 29 percent of slow growers. There’s room for improvement, though. Among fast growers, just over half believe their organization has the sales capabilities it will need in the future, while a third of the slow growers feel similarly equipped. As few as 18 percent of fast growers think they excel at pipeline management, and even in the most successful area—understanding specific customer needs—only 29 percent claimed to be outstanding.”
To continue reading this article, please visit: www.mckinsey.com
“In Business, You’re Either Growing Or You’re Dying
By Mark Schellinger, Forbes.com
As an executive member of a business, you’re always asking yourself, “What does it take to build an enduring, great company and to continuously improve and grow?” When one of our co-founders made the statement that “You’re either growing or you’re dying,” my initial knee-jerk reaction was that this was extreme and harsh. I figured his focus on sales and financial growth was driving this conclusion. However, upon further reflection, what he said had so much more to do with growth culture, a strong team and bold goals than simply revenue growth.
Focus On Growth Culture
The growth culture isn’t a component of a company’s strategy, it is the company’s strategy. Growth is a framework that needs to drive all operational tasks, projects and initiatives of a company. The DNA of the company needs to be growth. Opportunities for growth are endless and should always be seized. Companies that don’t grow generally don’t attract the most talented team members (because great people seek growth) and are therefore at a disadvantage from the very beginning.
Growth-focused companies attract the best people, and A-team players want to play with other A-team players, creating a virtuous cycle. These companies invest heavily in the development and growth of their people (above all else) and watch as everyone grows together. It’s understood that the company’s growth is a byproduct of the team’s growth, not the other way around. This positive feedback loop of obtaining great people allows for more growth, which allows for more personal and professional challenges, which in turn allows for more growth that leads to more great people becoming team members (and repeat, again and again). This momentum is everything and it only occurs if a team is constantly growing and pushing their own boundaries and capabilities.
Have Large, Audacious Goals
Operating a small- to medium-size business is hectic, to say the least. Operational fires are always popping up, let alone the endless opportunities for improvements. Having large, audacious goals and working backward allows a team to understand where they are going and how to get there. Having a growth mindset and pushing for these big goals creates an environment of continuous improvement and growth. This environment results in retaining the most talented people.
Growth usually feels scary, it requires additional investment, making choices based on probability-weighted outcomes, constantly weighing and considering opportunity costs and stepping into the unknown. However, by not having these challenges or growth opportunities, you face the bigger risk of not attracting and/or keeping great people, which could lead to your company’s demise. Not to mention, there is likely another competitor in your industry that is focused on growth and will therefore “eat your lunch.”
Clearly, there are no guarantees of getting to where you want to go. However, the only certain way to not get there is to not put a plan in place to get there (i.e., always invert). The growth culture is the largest input into your operational plans and initiatives. It’s reflexive. With a growth culture in place, the company will have larger goals and strategic initiatives and it will be focused on hiring the best people. Furthermore, the team will be focused on achieving more audacious goals and will think bigger, this will lead the team to develop and grow individually, and as a result, the company will grow and will therefore create additional growth opportunities for its team members — and then do it all over again (the virtuous cycle continues).
Invest In Great People — Or Else
Hire great people, invest in them above all else, and the rest will take care of itself. Additional growth opportunities will exist which will keep your great people and allow you to hire even more. Once this momentum is created, the growth of the company will naturally occur. You will inherently outcompete your competitors, you will inherently provide a better product or service, and the positive feedback loop will continue. You either do this or somebody else will, and then your company is destined to fade away.
Although this sounds simple to do, it’s anything but. By constantly investing in growth one needs to accept delayed gratification and be long-term oriented. The growth doesn’t occur overnight — it’s a sustained effort over a long period of time. It’s kind of like losing weight: The idea is simple, but the execution is harder. If you commit to growth you will be more successful and happier in the long run. Remember: In business, you’re either growing or you’re dying.”
To read the full article, please visit: www.forbes.com
“Why it’s still a world of ‘grow or go’
October 1, 2015,
Mckinsey & Company.
In a challenging environment, growth matters more than ever.
Growth is magic. It makes it easier to fund new investments, attract great talent, and acquire assets. But the environment for growth has been difficult since 2008, and while there are signs that the Great Recession is at last receding, significant challenges remain. Real-GDP growth in the United States remains below historical averages; the economies of most European countries are still sluggish; and growth in emerging markets, particularly the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—is slowing down.
For more than a decade, we’ve been building and mining a global-growth database containing hundreds of the largest US and European companies. Recently, we’ve been revisiting some of the core analyses in the 2008 book, The Granularity of Growth,1 to see if the challenging environment of recent years has shifted the picture of fundamentals we painted before the financial crisis. The answer is no, though the economic context arguably has increased the importance of an effective growth strategy.
Healthy growth boosts corporate survival rates, which was true in 2008 and remains true in the United States and in other developed markets. From 1983 to 2013, for instance, roughly 60 percent of the nonfinancial companies then in the S&P 500 were acquired—it’s grow or go, and they have gone. Consider these findings over that period:
• Sixty of the 78 S&P 500 companies that generated top-line growth and improved or at least maintained their margins outperformed the S&P 500.
• Companies with deteriorating margins performed less well, even if these companies were growing; just 8 out of 30 outperformed the index.
• A higher percentage (56 percent) of companies that grew slowly, but also aggressively distributed cash to shareholders, outperformed the S&P 500.
As analysis of these companies’ total returns to shareholders (TRS) suggests (Exhibit 1), growth is only a means to the ultimate end: creating value. Not all growth opportunities are equal. Still, there’s no escaping the fact that growth is a critical driver of performance as measured by total returns to shareholders. And TRS underperformers are far more likely to be acquired.
Growth can be sustained, but that’s not easy
Growth must be actively and continually renewed. That may seem like common sense, but sometimes, as Voltaire aptly noted, “common sense is very rare.” When we looked at several economic cycles, we found that very few companies managed to maintain strong growth over time (Exhibit 2). Less than half of the S&P companies that increased their revenues faster than GDP from 1983 to 1993 managed to do so from 1993 to 2003. Fewer than 25 percent of the outperformers of 1983 to 1993 remained in that group through 2013. Similarly, in the eurozone, only about one-third of the nonfinancial companies whose revenue growth outpaced GDP in 1993 also outpaced it through 2013. Nonetheless, some evidence suggests that enduringly fast growth is not a fluke: the rate at which long-term survivors in the United States fell out of the growth-leader category actually decreased over the years. While 62 percent of the companies that outpaced GDP growth after one decade failed to do so after two, only 36 percent of the surviving companies fell away in the decade that followed.
Rethinking where to compete and which assets to buy
A consistent finding in our research is that about 75 percent of all growth is a function of the markets in which businesses compete—portfolio momentum—and the acquisitions they initiate. In other words, just 25 percent of a company’s growth typically comes at the expense of competitors. We highlighted this analysis before the market downturn in 2008, and it has continued to hold true since then.
Making good choices about where to compete requires a truly granular understanding of market dynamics and of a company’s business performance. Opportunities will not always come in traditional or even familiar locales; indeed, from 2010 to 2025, almost 50 percent of global GDP growth will take place in approximately 440 small- and medium-size cities in emerging markets.
Nor do overall averages reliably indicate where the opportunities lie. One company we know had a three-year growth rate that averaged 13 percent across 12 key business units. A closer inspection, however, revealed that their median growth rate was only 2.5 percent. The top-performing unit had been growing at a 62.4 percent clip, but only two others topped the company-wide average of 13 percent. In fact, five of the business units were growing at around 1 percent or less over the three-year period, and the worst performer had been contracting at a rate of close to 5 percent.
Companies can predict their growth momentum by identifying the unique factors that drive their sales and how these factors connect to broader economic developments. To that end, another company we know employs a robust set of tools that go beyond reporting where growth exists at present—it aims to forecast where opportunities will probably arise over the coming quarters. This company starts by feeding its data to econometric models and time-tested algorithms to predict its momentum. Disag