During my MCom studies we had a lecture one day by Meyer Kahn, chairperson of SABMiller. He mentioned that for any project, initiative or business you need only follow four rules to be successful:
- Know the facts
- Have a goal
- Have a plan to meet your goal
- Monitor the plan
I have used that advice so often in my life, and I think that rule number one is especially important. It’s a principle that many people tend to forget. There is a fine balance though, and in my experience you need to carefully combine all four ingredients.
For example, I see many companies failing to deliver because they plan to death, but never get to implement anything. There are many wonderful strategies filed away, but the only thing that matters and determines success is the quality of implementation. So you can’t refine your planning to the third decimal point.
When it comes to growth and new business development I think you need to identify a range of opportunities and prioritise the high-value ones – primarily through market intelligence, but also mixed with a good dose of gut feeling. Then focus on establishing six to eight significant new businesses. Follow a corporate venturing process. Next, get momentum; direction will come. If all else fails, you will have had a great ride!