Date posted: June 17, 2016

Whatever sustainable growth looks like for your business, there are key steps to get the foundations right

Successful organisations of all sizes need continual growth – however what that growth looks like is different for everyone. It may mean investing in people or resources, creating new departments, launching a greater range of products or expanding services internationally, among countless other objectives.

KPMG Enterprise Advisory partner Toni Jones, who is experienced in helping fast growing enterprises set strategies for sustainable growth, says the current climate of technological change and competitive disruption means opportunities for growth are vast.

However, just because growth is within reach, it is not necessarily simple.

“There is a constant need to ensure you have a clearly defined strategy and market proposition, and to keep a close eye on your competitors. This needs to be done while managing costs and continually examining your performance,” she says.

There are two key ways for an enterprise to grow – organically or inorganically. Organic growth focuses on new customers and markets, diversified channels, products, services and pricing models. Inorganic growth looks at strategic alliances, acquisitions, streamlining of systems and joint ventures. Jones says both approaches need equally sound foundations.

“With strategy and foundations aligned, a business is well positioned to achieve competitive advantage, to increase customers’ willingness to pay and fulfil growth aspirations,” she says.

Foundations to thrive

Focusing on sustainable growth helps increase the stability, success and value of a business in the long term. Achieving this requires foundations that are aligned to the status of the business, as well as its complexity.

“Foundations include a clear business strategy and direction, an efficient operating model, and building the right teams with the necessary capabilities. There is a need for the right technology and systems, sound structures and processes, all supported by an appropriate risk control framework,” Jones says.

“As growth evolves, businesses need to continually reassess if these foundations are adequately supporting their growth objectives and pace of change.
It is essential that the foundations are then right-sized to support the direction of the business.”

Sustainable growth in action

In a KPMG international survey, (Setting the course for growth, CEO Perspectives, KPMG, 2015), sustainable, or ‘efficient’ growth was cited as one of the top five areas of focus for CEOs in the coming 3 to 5 years.

However, Jones says businesses that neglect to balance foundations with their rate of growth are more likely to experience stilted or levelled growth rates, and respond poorly to unexpected challenges, or even fail.

“Fast growing enterprises must understand growth implications in full. This way they can uncover hidden opportunities that can improve performance or unlock value, and respond accordingly,” she says.
Preparing for sustainable growth

Businesses may recognise that they are ready for the next level of growth and be unsure of how to take the next steps, or whether they have the right foundations in place.

They may be asking questions like:
•    Do I have the right strategy for the short, medium and long term?
•    What processes and systems do I need to support the next stage of growth?
•    Am I doing business in the most efficient way?
•    What are the right leadership behaviours and management governance required to foster sustainable growth?

This article has been supplied by KPMG and the advice is designed to be general in nature.

KPMG Enterprise has been working with family businesses for over 100 years, and have been the proud gold sponsor of FBA for over 10 years. To discuss this article or your business challenges and opportunities further, please contact Toni Jones, Dominic Pelligana or one of KPMG’s national team of family business advisers. Alternatively, visit our website at