To grow faster, I have found it is better to focus on growth initiatives that are singles and doubles — counter-intuitive but effective. Some people prefer to attempt the big, home-run initiatives. Large companies, in particular, can feel they need a growth initiative to provide $x million of profit or “it just won’t be big enough.” When you find the huge opportunities, they can be wonderful. But home-run initiatives are often very difficult to find, difficult to execute, and may even put the core business at risk. I much prefer growth initiatives that build on something a business already does and are incremental efforts with a very high probability of success. Each incremental addition of profitable growth makes the company stronger and better able to take-on larger growth opportunities when they arise. And, it is easier to get started on smaller projects. Begin the small inititives, show profits and success, and look to build on them. Before you know it, the small successes add up to larger profits.
An author who makes this point particularly well is Ram Charan in his book Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning.