There is the old story of the successful large business becoming an unsuccessful smaller one. Usually it is accompanied by stories of missed opportunities, poor strategies and a focus on cost cutting.

The poster boy for this transformation in my personal experience is Goodman Fielder, for whom I have worked on two occasions. First as a youthful marketing person in the glory days, when Meadow Lea was changing the spreads market by congratulating its consumers for their choice of margarine, and later as a General Management contractor tarting up one of their smaller business units for sale, as it shrunk its way to near oblivion.

To be successful in any commercial arena means that you have created value for someone else. It is a simple truism of business that only be creating value do you attract customers, the support of your value chains, and as a result, revenue.

Businesses do have the tendency to attract overheads, the way a boat attracts barnacles. They attach themselves to the structures and they slow you down, reduce manoeuvrability, and can eventually sink you. You cannot be prosperous while carting around the commercial equivalent of a barnacle covered hull. Cleaning off the commercial barnacles may result in some size reduction initially, but it also increases the potential to add value, agility, and sensitivity to the needs of your markets, so growth is the outcome when the cleaning is done well.

Growth is part of our DNA, it is a mind-set necessary for success.

Who would want to work for, or deal with a company that was overtly focused on squeezing out the maximum dollars from a transaction and relationship? You know the motivation is about their interests, so It would be easy to believe the service, quality, and longevity would be compromised by such a focus.

By contrast, who would not want to engage with a company growing quickly, innovating, and delivering value to customers, and offering opportunity to its employees.

Cost cutting is one thing, using your resources wisely to create value is another, and they are profoundly different.

Photo credit Wes Iverson