Dec 7, 2019 — Northwestern’s Kellog Business School, Evanston, IL.
Representing companies that are creatively growing their markets, Dean Ricker, President of Skolnik, spoke on growth strategies along with other owners of growth-minded companies. While much of the media hype around “growth strategy” continues to focus on “launching” new ventures, real value is created in actually “growing” them. Ricker spoke to the initial stages of a business that are mainly focused around testing and validating various elements of the business model. Once a business has found product/market fit and a profitable unit model, it is time to scale the company. The growth stage of a business faces a unique set of management challenges. A “flat” organizational structure typified by the founding team needs to evolve to a hierarchical organizational structure with well-defined roles, responsibilities and communication. Hiring and developing the best talent is critical. Systems and infrastructure need to be upgraded and integrated. Additional capital resources may be required. Marketing becomes more targeted and sophisticated. And the leadership team still needs to focus on the competitive landscape and possible exit strategies in order to sustain and capture value in the future. All attendees valued the concepts presented.