Dinner table ladened with Christmas fayre

If 2020 was the year of the agile business, then 2021 must be dubbed the year of the growth business.

In the past 12 months, BOOST&Co has worked with no end of innovative, fast-growing firms – from those looking to expand into new markets to those acquiring complementary companies or developing their products and services. 

But whether a business has won customers by pivoting in response to new challenges or has expanded by delivering an ambitious acquisition strategy, successful companies usually share several key components in common: their recipe for success.

Get your foundations sorted first

In any beloved recipe – or in this case, a meal as revered as the Christmas dinner – a solid foundation is essential. Much like the turkey in a festive feast, a strong management team and robust business plan are at the core of every successful firm, providing a strong bedrock that enables all the other functions to shine.

The team and strategy will differ from business to business, as a Christmas centrepiece varies between households, but whether you opt for a turkey, a nut roast or even a braai on the beach, this foundation sets the standard for everything else to work around.

Core business functions add flavour

No traditional Christmas dinner is complete without the seasonal stalwarts of pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce – some may even make a case for red cabbage. These additions work in harmony with the centrepiece, giving greater depth and variety to the meal, much like the core business functions of finance, operations and sales. 

Although most firms have these departments, successful ones will ensure that these teams integrate and collaborate, aligning to the business plan and avoiding situations where departments are working in silos. After all, cranberry sauce is a delicious accompaniment, but few would want to eat it on its own.

Funding is the root of success

Many businesses stop here. They have a plan and they have the people – and, quite often, they’ll be turning a profit at a steady rate. But if 2021 is the year of the growth business, our recipe for success needs something more – something strong and versatile to underpin the business and work alongside every other element to add some oomph.

Much like the humble roast potato, funding is often overlooked as a component of a company’s recipe for success – especially when there are more appealing items on the agenda. Yet it’s an ingredient that should be considered all year round, giving firms greater flexibility in the execution of their strategy and ultimately more choice, if they are properly prepared.

Worth the thyme and investment

Then there are the components that require an investment of time, money and resources: options that earlier-stage companies often don’t have. Human resources and marketing are like a good gravy – without it, Christmas dinner would be dry and dull. Amateurs may attempt to replicate it with instant granules, but when it is expertly executed, it elevates everything else.

A final je ne sais quoi

Finally, the extras: maybe a stylish office in a central location or an environmentally friendly cycle-to-work scheme. Perhaps you offer new joiners a crate of branded stash when they arrive, or subsidise the on-site canteen.

Like a parsnip gratin or a celeriac purée, these nice-to-have extras help to create a more attractive proposition, but they’re not essential for a company to succeed. Akin to accomplished chefs, the strongest business leaders will ensure that they nail all of the other components before they move on to any extravagant extras.

Collaboration is key

In many households, the Christmas dinner is about contribution. Whether you take on the role of sous chef, server or pot wash, the most memorable meals see family and friends work together to produce something special.

Successful businesses work in the same way. Strong leaders work to understand the strengths of their teams, so that they can capitalise on these assets and find pragmatic solutions to fill the gaps.

As we end another year that has been characterised by time spent apart, focusing on what we can achieve when we work together seems to be a positive way to sign off. Thank you to all the individuals and organisations that have been a part of our successful recipe in 2021: we look forward to continuing our collaborations in the New Year.

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