Stengel Solutions: The Door to Business Growth


Ten Tips to Prepare for Sustainable Growth



Raising Money
- Today's Times
- Angel Investors

The Tools
- The Elevator Pitch
- Investor Presentation
- Business Plan
- Financials

Strategic Issues
- Challenging Times
- Competitive Barriers
- Measuring Performance
- Outsourcing
- Strategic Alliances
- Strategic Plannin

- Sustainable Growth

Sales & Marketing
- Better Branding
- Developing E-newsletters
- Online Feedback
Market Analysis
- The Plan

The Human Element
- Hiring/Keeping
- Advisory Boards
- Corporate Board

Selling Your Business

Companies primed for growth lay the twin foundations of infrastructure and knowledge, and avoid the pitfalls of undisciplined growth that can dissipate quickly. They also know that management adept at one level of business might not be right for the next, so bringing in new blood may be necessary. Here are ten ways to prepare for that eventuality.

Know Your Financials: You need to know when youíre at break even and what the implications are when youíre not. Can existing cash flow carry you for the time being, will using your credit line be enough, or do you need to raise money or? Knowing the difference between cash flow and profitability is critical.

2. Know Your Outside Financing Options: Companies primed for growth know how, when and where to get outside money and what type of financing to tap. They understand the benefits and detriments of debt versus equity financing. They know the appropriate financing option at each point in the companyís life cycle, and are versed in how companies are valued and the impact of current trends on the ability to raise money. 
3. Leverage Core Competencies: One key to growth is to leverage your companyís competitive advantage by developing new products or going after new markets. Deploying your abilities across geographic and product business units will help your firm achieve economies of scale and scope.
4. Focus Externally as Well as Internally: Tracking your companyís financials, operations, sales and marketing efforts is only half the story. Comparing yourself to your competition and understanding the impact of marketplace trends will give you the rest. Compile a list of factors that are important in your industry to determine the metrics by which to measure your performance. Since more information is available internally, your internal performance metrics will be different from your external. 
5. Consider Non-Organic Ways to Grow: Acquisition can be an ideal way to grow, but you need to evaluate what type of company is a good fit with yours. Be precise about how the target company adds value to your enterprise and what the necessary benchmarks are to capitalize value. Make sure the acquisition target lines up with your overall business strategy and available capital.

Other ways of gaining a marketplace advantage: team up with another company and form a joint venture or strategic alliance. Relationships such as these are easier to both implement and end.
6. Move From Micro-Management to Macro-Management: Business owners often have trouble letting go and turning matters over to subordinates. But itís critical that you do so, because you canít do everything yourself. No matter how good you are, you donít have the expertise to do it all.

Delegate responsibilities and tasks to appropriate staff. Communicate critical and actionable information. Cross-pollinate solutions or ideas among the staff.
7. Make Strategic Use of Outside Advisors: You donít need to navigate unfamiliar waters alone. Put together a good board of advisers, and youíll create a powerful asset that can make a huge difference when you need to get objective advice, scout the marketplace, gauge future trends, seek new strategic positions, have introductions made or build repeat customers. They can advise, evaluate and play devilís advocate. You should also consult your lawyer, accountant, banker, peers and others whose judgment you trust.
8. Reap the Rewards of Technology: You can improve your business through access to timely, critical information about performance. And itís equally important that you identify and seize technology-enabled opportunities that help you reduce costs and increase productivity. Use relationship-management systems that integrate information to better serve customers, improve cash flow and promote cross-selling. Make sure your systems can be integrated with each other and are both scaleable and flexible.
9. Protect Intellectual Property: Products, technologies, business methods, patents, trademarks, copyrights and other forms of intellectual property can significantly enhance a company's ability to secure and defend sources of marketplace advantage, even in times of rapid technological change. Intellectual property is a means of creating a proprietary, defensible market advantage. 
10. Manage Risk Through Insurance: Just being in business is risky. A fire could destroy your inventory, records and building. A flood could cause thousands of dollars' worth of damageÖthe list of potential catastrophes businesses face is virtually endless. Since you canít eliminate risk, you have to manage it by insuring your company with general liability and property coverage, an umbrella policy, automobile insurance (if you own and operate commercial vehicles), professional liability, life insurance, workers' compensation, business interruption insurance and destroyed or damaged records insurance.
Prepared by:

Geri Stengel, president of Stengel Solutions, a business strategist.  She can be reached at 212-362-3088 or E-mail

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Contact Geri Stengel at
  212.362.3088 or E-mail

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