This month, we asked our members the following: The GDP is forecasted to grow approximately two percent in 2012. How will your company approach growth strategies in 2012?
Here are some highlights from the responses we received.
Growth is our number one objective at Send the Trend. In 2012, we will be keenly focused on customer acquisition and will primarily use social and viral channels to fuel this growth. Facebook users spend 1.5 times more time online than other internet users, and there is a 51 percent increase in likelihood that a customer will purchase from you after liking your Facebook fan page. We will also focus on expanding our product offerings to service customer demand.
Ignore the economy and go abroad! If your company’s success is dependent on GDP growth, then you are not innovating. We build disruptive technologies for which the rate of overall economic growth is not the dominant driver. That said, we are seeing huge opportunities for breakthrough products in emerging markets where 1.2 billion people are rapidly moving into the middle class. They are educated, wired, and generally underserved by local vendors. In 2012, our businesses will serve the emerging-market middle class in countries like the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, Columbia, Mexico, Vietnam, India, and China.
Here’s how to get focused on growth: take venture capital. We’ve been in the hypergrowth category (30+ percent) for many years, even in the recession; this past year was 52 percent. One of our VCs complained the other day, “When are you guys going to break out and really do something.” No rest; VCs will keep you on your toes and will keep reminding you to never be satisfied.
Growth of our staff is key. We are our own bottleneck. So we created a chief learning officer position with staff and budget. We’ve licensed Blackboard’s learning management system. We have learning dashboards for new staff in salesforce.com. We’ve honed and lengthened our career path. We’ve amped up technical training, supervisor training, public speaking, management, and our signature school of rock and corporate jiu-jitsu programs, all to underscore this essential part of our culture.
I am concentrating on increasing my personal networking (I already do it extensively) with the objective of creating new strategic alliances with people and organizations who can help drive the future growth of my main business, which is heading a fund of hedge funds.
For example, I am one of six cofounders of the Alternative Investments Society, a new web presence and event organization being developed that will educate appropriate investors about the pros and cons of alternative asset investing, including real estate, hedge funds, and precious metals. Earlier in the year, I took on the responsibility for developing a networking concept in New Jersey for graduates of the MIT Sloan School of Management. This is evolving successfully and leading to some amazing new relationships.
Being a dinosaur, I am being coached to use and leverage social networking media to raise the visibility of our firm. In exchange for receiving coaching from a real pro in this space, I am, in turn, mentoring her on various potential ways for her to grow her coaching and consulting practice.
Finally, because I am so committed and passionate about networking and developing win-win relationships, I am partnering with a similarly experienced friend and creating a new company (Bluestone+Killion) to teach other executives and organizations to network for personal and professional success.
For us, 2011 was a good year, and we expect 2012 to also be a good year—but it’s still too hopeful to say it will be a great, amazing year. The economy is still scary and it’s hard to make plans as an entrepreneur because our clients simply aren’t planning as far ahead as they used to. To get our company focused on growth, we have provided more training for employees, are concentrating efforts on quicker ROIs, and being conservative with spending.
Daria Meoli is the Executive Editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at email@example.com