Watching your company grow in leaps and bounds can often be quite daunting and tough on even the best management team. Profiling the successes of growing franchises Boost Juice and Big Dad’s Pies, we look at ways to keep your business on track, from concept, through to start-up and execution.
The extensive experience of DC Strategy provides an insight into a few straightforward ideas with specific reference to the serious growth journey of Boost Juice and Big Dad’s Pies.
Boost Juice (Boost) was founded by Janine Allis, who opened the first store in Adelaide in 2000. Boost was focused on scaling a global smoothie business with a great culture and market-leading brand. Eight years later, the Boost group is a recognised and respected retailer and distributor with more than 200 stores in operation across Australia and in 11 other countries.
Big Dad’s Pies (Big Dad’s) is a family-owned and operated food manufacturer and retail business founded by Stephen Donnelly in Ipswich, Queensland in 2002. It has a world class manufacturing facility, a network of more than 40 stores in Queensland and is on track to build a national and international distribution network.
Understand the phases of growth
There is no silver bullet or six steps to managing serious growth. It is complex, specific to the people involved and in reality covers a period of time measured in years, not months. The best place to start is considering the actual phases a business passes through to actually understand how to manage serious growth.
Building a business
In the experience of DC Strategy, the key phases that businesses progress through are concept, start-up, growth, maturity and international, exit or diversification. Each of these phases has been the focal point of plenty of documentation and commentary over the years and yet with the advantage of the lessons of history, there are still more examples of successful small businesses that scale to become poor medium-size businesses, than those who scale the business successfully.
Businesses do not last forever and size does not afford complacency. How does Pan Am go from number one airline in the world to bankrupt two years later? Why did Ford never regain number one spot in the automotive industry? Why has McDonald’s never been surpassed in food retail? This is the challenge of managing serious growth.
A concept requires structure, skills, resources and, above all, commitment to bringing an idea to life. All businesses have been in this phase at some point; it is exciting, challenging and the key issue any founder needs to address is whether the intended plan on balance has a significant chance of success. If not, there will be other alternatives and discipline is as important as altering a strategy early is better than labouring under a misapprehension for years.
The start-up phase transitions the business from idea to reality and it is the time to get the fundamentals right. The primary foundations of any business are:
1.Develop the value proposition
2. Identify the target market and consumer base
3. Identify a sustainable and profitable business model.
Boost started with a single store in Adelaide, Big Dad’s a single store in Ipswich and both of these businesses tackled the issues of brand, business model, pricing, marketing, people and cash flow. Both businesses had to make tough decisions about the breadth of product and service offering, amongst other issues, in order to scale the business. Why did Boost not have other food? Why did Big Dad’s have more than just pies despite the name?
Growth is a popular topic and a reasonable aspiration of almost all businesses. Statistics suggest it is also the stage that is the potential undoing of an otherwise successful business. The real complexity that exists is priority management, people focus and executing on the simple things well. Boost would have gone nowhere without the formation of an appropriately skilled team, board and commitment to its brand and culture. Big Dad’s stayed 100 percent focused on delivering the highest quality of product to the customer above all else.