I am currently in Stresa, on the shore of Lake Maggiore in Italy, on a three-day intensive programme with other leading consultants to review and develop our businesses and improve our value to. Our first day has focused on how to develop an independent/boutique consulting business, but there are three big lessons that I’ve taken away from this morning’s session that have universal application:

1. Growth lifts off and dramatically accelerates when you have both a clear intent and a willingness to flex and be opportunistic.
2. To step-change your growth you must be willing to re-invent your business, and not simply seek to repeat past successes.
3. You cannot reach the next level by seeking to correct your weaknesses; you get there by building on and leveraging your strengths.

So, I have five questions for you:

1. What is the intent of your business and what are you seeking to achieve in the next 2-3 years?
2. In what ways have you jumped on new, emerging opportunities in the past year, and what opportunities are you currently exploiting?
3. What share of your revenues come from products, services and customer markets that didn’t exist in your business three years ago?
4. What projects are you currently working on that have the potential to re-invent your business in the next three years?
5. In what ways are you building your existing strengths to drive new growth?

(c) Stuart Cross 2011. All rights reserved.