Thursday, April 18, 2024

Future-proofing growth

Ask any food or beverage business what their growth goal is and I will bet they say ‘increasing sales’.

Catherine Sayer

By Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer. 

Most businesses start with trying to grow sales by selling more of what they already make to customers they already have. But that’s not the only way to grow your business, and it may not be the best way to protect it from an event with the power to disrupt your traditional business – like a pandemic.

Sales growth can also come from finding new customers for existing products, creating new products for existing customers, or seeking out opportunities to develop business relationships, customer base and product range through potential acquisitions, mergers, and joint ventures.

Over the last 10 years, we have been refining our growth support programs and services to cut to the chase, to focus on the actionable strategies that fit each business’ own specific priorities, resources and growth goals.

This new online tool the Sales Growth Navigator answers a need for businesses wanting to better understand where the highest potential growth options are for their specific business. It’s all done online and takes about an hour to complete and it helps these businesses understand the potential of other sales growth strategies to help spread risk so that something like Covid-19 has less chance to wipe you off the map.

Although the development of the Sales Growth Navigator has coincided with Covid-19, the idea of developing an online tool preceded this shift. This is because for some years we’ve seen that the intent and desire to upskill is strong across the food and beverage sector but time is truly of the essence, and finding time to step away from the day to day to focus on strategy can be a major challenge.

Covid-19 has shown us all that ‘keeping on keeping on’ is a far riskier strategy than we could ever have believed. It’s also shown us how fast, and how far, smart businesses in our sector can move when the chips are really down.

The key learnings we see here are, first to have your contingency plan up to date, and second to be prepared to change everything if you have to.

The plans you make to deal with a crisis don’t have to be perfect, they just have to exist in at least a basic form, so you have something to work from if the unthinkable happens.

Learning number three from Covid-19 seems to be that it’s worthwhile to spend some time working out how you would react not only to the ‘ordinary’ disruptions most contingency plans allow for, but also for what feels like a far-fetched scenario at the global level as well.

Understanding where the real sales growth potential is for your products is a great start to figuring out your contingency plans for the unknowns of the long-term future and to accelerate growth in the short and medium term too.


About Catherine Sayer

Catherine has led Food South Australia since it was established in 2010, passionately guiding the development of the industry’s peak body with a focus on industry growth and advocacy. She also is a member of and chairs a number of boards.

About Food South Australia

Food South Australia is the state’s peak body for the food and beverage industry, with a mission to support and sustain the industry in the state by helping businesses of all sizes to grow their markets, capability, and industry connections. Food South Australia is independent, industry led, and membership based.

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