Companies that grow in meaningful ways always take on a highly strategic approach to growth. This is because focus produces results. Lack of focus is like wandering around without any purpose or any clear direction of where you want to go. While you may walk for many miles, you’ll never reach your destination. On the other hand, if you remain on target and stick to the map, you’ll make it to your destination in no time.
In theory this makes sense, but in practice, it can be difficult to say no to what seem like “good” opportunities. But even great opportunities can distract you from your strategy, and by attempting to be a jack of all trades, you’ll be a master of none.
Remaining focused requires a disciplined approach to developing your growth strategy and evaluating opportunities for growth. From time to time, take a step back from the day-to-day operations and reassess your company’s current strategy to determine if it still makes sense. What are your core competencies and how will you build on them? What does your business look like today and what do you want it to look like in the future?
Developing criteria to objectively evaluate growth opportunities can also help keep you on track. When analyzing an opportunity, ask the simple question, “Does this opportunity align with my company’s strategy? How?”
It is important to remember that growth does not always mean getting bigger or adding more business lines; in some cases, it means shedding non-core assets so you can focus on what’s most important. Recently in the news we’ve seen a number of companies adopt this strategy. P&G recently agreed to sell its Lindor brand to Hartmann Group as part of a strategy to sell 105 brands to focus on 10 fast-growing business segments. Conagra has also agreed to sell Wesson oil brand to J.M. Smucker, its private label business to TreeHouse Foods, and has spun off Lamb Weston in order to focus on its strongest consumer brands.
Although it can be hard to say “no,” in the long-term you will be better off. If you pursue too many opportunities, you’ll dilute your efforts and be ineffective. Instead, it’s best to adopt a disciplined and method to take on a focused, strategic approach to growth.