Back to Basics in Driving Asian Growth
By Arlene Wherrett, VP and Managing Director, Sage Asia.
Today, there is a continuous need for companies to reposition their strategies in the pursuit of success; important here in Asia where growth is expected to continue apace. According to a 2017 IMF report, Asia Pacific growth will remain strong at 5.4% in 2018 as the region continues to be the engine room of global economic growth.
To help drive continued growth here in Asia, businesses and resellers of all sizes need to creatively deliver new avenues of revenue. I have summarised four key ways to set the foundation for these new revenue streams below. These tips have been gathered from my years of speaking to and working with entrepreneurs and C-suite executives at multinational companies and my time working as a managing director of a key channel partner in the Salesforce ecosystem. Together they form an essential toolkit for business owners who want to ensure the continued expansion of their companies.
Choosing the Right Partners for Business Growth
The success or failure of any business relationship depends heavily on how well the partnership works. Particular effort should be directed towards ensuring the right relationships are formed. Businesses need to establish precisely what they are seeking to achieve from these relationships, whether it be, expanding into new territories, providing new services, or discovering a new route to market.
Once you have a partnership in place with defined and shared goals, it is important to foster growth and set up a rhythm of checking-in on the status of the partnership at regular intervals by setting up a mutual performance contract to manage and monitor each other’s expectations.
The benefits of such a partnership, be it with a supplier or technology partner, usually outweighs any disadvantages and can contribute in a big way to accelerating a business’s growth. For example, sharing of contacts, supply chains, or the experience of how to break into new markets that you may not have considered before. This could then be further expanded to develop small one-to-one partnerships, into group ventures, or even establish a community of companies, suppliers and customers working together. No man is an island, and no company is either.
Have a Customer-Obsessive Culture
The success of business relies heavily on establishing new and loyal customer bases. When organisations start out, they are very customer-driven, and they focus on winning customers and keeping them happy. However, as businesses grow, it can be easy to be complacent and let processes get in the way.
There are ways to tackle this. Analyse your current customer base to spot strengths and weaknesses on how your company retains customers. Pay close attention to market trends. Conduct surveys, interview new, current and lapsed customers, and importantly listen to – and act upon – all customer feedback and concerns. Reward your customers occasionally, keeping them wanting more. Tie them in with personal attention that they won’t wont to do without.
Adapt to Changing Technologies
It is critical to adopt modern technologies, services and systems to improve operations and support growth. Adopting cloud-based services, for example, is a way to reduce your company’s IT infrastructure. This not only reduces costs and improves efficiencies, but helps give workers the flexibility to work remotely. This can improve productivity, freeing up time to pursue new business opportunities.
Emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence can automate time- consuming administration or data processing tasks. These technologies free up teams to carry out strategic tasks that accelerate business growth while improving workplace efficiency by removing repetitive administrative tasks.
Used wisely, technology can help make your company more innovative, productive, and provide the foundations for the next stage of growth.
Finding the Right Talent
According to the World Bank, around 1 million people enter South Asia’s workforce every month. By 2030, ASEAN and South Asia will be home to more than one-fourth of the world’s working adults. This is good news to companies in Asia who are constantly on the lookout for talent. It is often said that a company is only as good as its people, so hiring the right people for your company needs careful planning.
It’s critical to establish the specific types of skills and expertise you need for your business, from administrative to specialists. Recruiting the right people to work for you will make or break your business and poor hiring decisions can be costly. Consider carefully and use a panel of decision makers to give a more holistic perspective of the candidate. Bolster your existing workforce with through constant learning, upskilling and knowledge transfers.
A workforce should be as diverse as the customers it serves. This will help your business gain better insight into providing products and services for customers that are increasingly diverse themselves.
Finally, boosting business growth is not about gimmicks or quick wins. The “win as a team” attitude must permeate every department and employee, driving every decision and informing every choice. This team-sport attitude is something I deeply believe in and practice every day in my role managing Sage Asia.