Often the most straightforward ways to increase shareholder value is top-line revenue growth–which is usually less painful than cost reduction or changes in ownership structure. However, achieving growth is a complex and difficult equation. Only a small minority of companies succeed in their attempts at sustained growth, and for three major reasons:
For one, too many companies leave money on the table in their core businesses, failing to optimize for cost and revenue opportunities–or to seek nearby adjacencies to expand the core. For another, companies selling into mature markets need to expand their horizons. We help them look for new sources of revenues, or adjacencies, via new distribution channels, customer segments or geographies, and avoid taking a step too far. Finally, some companies will hit a wall in their traditional business lines and need to renew their core. We help such firms find successful platforms, often within their own businesses, along with new customer insights and capabilities to renew their business model.
Additional growth also requires that a company relentlessly pursue business adjacencies that strengthen its core, that foster the ability to anticipate and react quickly to the competition and that develop processes to eliminate or circumvent the inherent organizational inhibitors to growth. Adjacency moves offer one of the most effective ways for companies to achieve repeated bursts of new growth.
Two common mistakes derail adjacency moves: First, companies try to build on top of a weak core business; second, they overreach into new businesses that aren't truly related to their core business. Our tools help clients determine accurately which adjacent businesses will add the most growth and value. Companies can assess an adjacency's relationship to the core business by evaluating shared customers, channels, technologies, products and other factors.
In the case when a company's core formula has run its course, or faces industry upheaval, we help executives renew company strategy and capabilities. This work entails looking deep within their organizations to find undervalued, unrecognized or underutilized assets that can serve as new platforms for sustainable growth.
Finally, successful growth relies heavily on management execution. That last imperative is particularly challenging in many organizations, which is why Bain works to generate consensus within management by jointly developing and prioritizing growth strategies.