I’ve been working with a consumer brands business where the management team are struggling to decide on the best route to growth. They’re not short of ideas, but they cannot find an effective way to choose between their long list of potential initiatives.


The company’s situation is not uncommon. Like many businesses, it is growing steadily, if unspectacularly, and over the years the team have found ways to make sure they hit their annual budget targets. In other words, the business can deliver incremental growth, but it struggles to deliver strategic growth.


The route to faster growth and more effective prioritization of ideas is the same: a clearer, more coherent strategy. Like my client, you need to be able to answer these two questions:

  1. What is the fundamental driving principle of your business?
  2. What is your over-arching #1 goal?

>Back in 2012, when I first worked with Topps Tiles, for example, the management team decided that their driving principle was to be a true ’tile specialist’ (the team called it ‘out-specialising the specialists’) and that their #1 goal for the coming 3-5 years was to grow Topps’s retail market share from 25% to 33%.


As a result of these decisions the team were able to cease certain activities – the business stopped selling wood flooring and decorating materials, for example – as well as honing in on the actions that would both accelerate growth and enhance the company’s ’tile specialist’ position. As a result, the business dramatically improved its tile product range, created a clear service model and developed a more compelling offer for its trade customers.


Within four years, the Topps achieved its goal of 33% market share. What results could your business deliver if you were able to clearly and unequivocally answer the same two questions?


Off The Record: Do You Know Where You’re Going To? by Diana Ross


In our last newsletter, we used a song by The Supremes. This time its Diana Ross on her own, with the theme from the film Mahogony, written by Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser


Do you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you?
Where are you going to?
Do you know?


© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.