You can grow wealth in 2011

Adam Hartung – Dec. 24 2010 – Forbes


"Goodbye 2010, the Year of Austerity" is the headline from's Marketing Daily. And that could be the mantra for many, many companies. Nobody won in 2010 by trying to save their way to prosperity! As we move into this decade, it is important business leaders realize the only way to create a strong bottom line (profit) is to develop a strong top line (revenue.) The article recommends:

  1. Never be desperate. Go to where the growth is, and where you can make money. Don't chase just any business, chase the business where you can profitably grow. Be selective to invest resources in growth markets.
  2. Focus efforts on markets you know best. I add that it's important you understand not to do just what you like, but learn to do what customers VALUE.
  3. Let go of crap, traditions and "playing it safe" actions. Growth is all about learning to do what the market wants, not trying to protect the past – whether processes, products or even customers.
  4. More lemonade making. You can't grow unless you're willing to learn from everything around you. We constantly find ourselves holding lemons. Those who prosper don't give up – they look for ways to turn those sour experiences into desirable lemonade. What is your willingness to learn from the market?
  5. Austerity measures are counterproductive 99% of the time.Efficiency is the biggest obstacle to innovation. You don't have to be a spendthrift to succeed, but you can't be a miser investing in only the things you know, and have done before.
  6. Communicate, communicate, communicate. We don't learn if we don't share. Developing insight from the environment happens when all inputs are shared, and lots of people contribute to the process.
  7. Get off the downbeat buss. There's more to success than the power of positive thinking, but it is very hard to gain insight and push innovation when you're a pessimist. Growth is an opportunity to learn, and do exciting things. That should be a positive for everybody. Remember, we don't fear change, we fear the unknown. As your experiences teach you about new opportunities and markets your fear will subside and excitement will replace it.


Realizing that you can't beat the cost-cutting horse forever, it's time business leaders realize that we've been under-investing in innovation for the last decade. While GM, Circuit City, Blockbuster, Silicon Graphics and Sun Microsystems have been failing, Apple, Google, Cisco, Netflix, Facebook and Twitter have maintained double-digit growth! Those who keep innovating realize that markets aren't dead, they're just shifting! Growth is there for businesses willing to innovate new solutions that attract customers – and their dollars! For every dead DVD store there's somebody making money streaming downloads. Businesses simply have to invest more in innovation and less on efficiency and "core" programs.

Fast Company gives us "Five Innovative New Year's Resolutions" well worth adopting:

  1. Associate. Work harder at trying to "connect the dots." Pick up on weak signals, before others, and build scenarios to understand the future impact of these signals as they become stronger. For example, predicts that greater use of mobile devices will wipe out some businesses in "The Ten Businesses The Smartphone Has Destroyed." But for each of these (and dozens others the next few years) there will be a large number of new business opportunities emerging. Just look at the efforts of Foursquare and Groupon to see where growth businesses are headed.
  2. Observe. Pay attention to what's happening in the world, and think about what it means for your (and every other) business. $90/barrel oil has an impact; what opportunity does it create? Declining network TV watching has an impact – how will you leverage this shift? Pat Robertson wants to decriminalize marijuana, what does that say about social norms? Don't just wander through your market, reacting to events using auto-pilot. Figure out what new trends are developing, and learn to recognize growth opportunities. Use market events to be proactive.