Grow or Die! Exploring New Pathways to Success

How is your company growing? In business, remaining static is impossible, and if you’re not growing, you are dying. I recently spoke on the concept of “Grow or Die” at the Association for Dressings and Sauces Annual Meeting in Nashville, in light of the trends and evolving market dynamics of the industry.

The food and beverage industry is changing as consumers demand more variety and healthy options like organic and fresh foods. An onslaught of small startups threatens traditional players and offer consumers new products. With so many changes in the industry, going about business as usual is not an option for success, even for large, established corporations.

Fortunately, there are many options and creative paths that companies can take to succeed in any industry. During my presentation we covered five options for growth – organic growth, minimizing costs, doing nothing, exiting, or external growth.

We also discussed how to use external growth to grow, including acquisitions. In the food and beverage industry, traditional players are acquiring organic or healthy startups to remain competitive and keep up with evolving consumer demand. For example, Utz recently acquired “better-for-you” chips maker Inventure foods, Nestlé purchased plant-based food manufacturer Sweet Earth.

If you are facing challenges in your industry, I encourage you to explore new ways beyond developing new products or adding more sales people to help your company succeed. You might try minimizing costs to improve your bottom line or exiting an unproductive business line or declining market. On closer inspection, after evaluating your company, you might decide to stay the course. If you decide to pursue external growth and partner with another organization there are nine different pathways you could take including joint venture, minority investment, majority investment, and acquisition. Industry disruptors present challenges, but also present new opportunities for companies that are willing to think outside the box and be proactive.

Photo credit: _Jonas_ via Flickr CC BY 2.0

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