This week’s focus: This morning I met with a senior executive of a national retailer who told me that trading is currently just so tough that the business can’t afford to focus on longer-term growth. Instead, he argued, he and his colleagues just needed to focus on managing sales, costs and operations as best they could and think about growth at a later date.

I can understand his point of view – times are though for many businesses – but my best clients are continuing to find the time, space and resource to develop new growth ideas. What’s more, the evidence from previous recessions shows that it is those businesses that continue to invest for growth that emerge from the downturn the strongest.

As the executive and I continued our conversation we identified one or two new growth opportunities that could help build momentum for the business without ‘betting the farm’ or causing unnecessary distraction. What new growth opportunities have you identified for your business in 2012?

Off the record: Come On, Let’s Go by Paul Weller

We’re planting up the acorns, wondering to where they’ll lead

We’re planning up the acorns, wondering to where they’ll seed

Come on baby, let’s go!

Happy Christmas! This is the last Friday Focus for a couple of weeks. Our next note will be on Friday 6 January, so have a great Christmas and all the very best for 2012.

© Stuart Cross 2011. All rights reserved.