Leadership / Management

Top five disciplines to achieve double-digit growth

Doubledigit_2"Growth is the oxygen of business." -- Michael Treacy

As promised in yesterday's post, here is the recap of one of my summer reads. Michael Treacy, best-selling author of the Discipline of Market Leaders, has written a practical follow-up book based on eight years of research of fast-growing companies. He has identified the critical disciplines these companies all share and offers tips on how you can apply these to your (or your client's) business.

Treacy's top five disciplines to achieve double-digit growth are:

  1. Retain your customer base. It is easier to retain the right customers than to acquire new customers. (Note my emphasis on the right customers)
  2. Gain market share. This is the discipline of competition and fighting for market share in your core business -- the classic zero-sum game of ripping customers away from competitors.
  3. Exploit market position. Search for emerging growth markets and stake out your position. Get there early for the highest returns.
  4. Penetrate adjacent markets. Know your strengths and advantages (from the customer point of view) and leverage them into markets next door to your core. For more on this, I recommend Chris Trimble's newest book, 10 Rules for Strategic Innovators.
  5. Invest in new lines of business. Identify possible growth areas outside your core business, but Treacy advises you do this with an investor mindset.

He advises you to work on all five of these separate and distinct disciplines and pull them together with a portfolio approach. I totally agree with this approach. We have used this in our own business at the MACPA. A great tool for this is the Investment Portfolio cart and leader guide from Grove Consultants, our strategic planning partner.

Why am I writing about business strategy on this blog? Three reasons:

  1. CPAs in business and industry are filling the role of COO in addition to their role as CFO. They are called upon more and more to be business catalysts and strategists in addition to their traditional roles in financial reporting of corporate stewards and operators. See my prior post on the four faces of finance from the CFO magazine / Deloitte pamphlet titled Breathing Lessons: How CFOs can Thrive Under Pressure.
  2. CPAs in pubic accounting are the most trusted advisers to their clients. What could be more valuable then giving them tips on growth? They also have to grow their practices to provide career growth for their top talent and succession for their partners.
  3. Strategic and critical thinking is a core competency of the CPA profession and a definite career booster. See my prior post on core competencies.


Related courses from our Business Learning Institute you can run in your own company or firm: