Risk identification and mitigation is a topic often left to financial execs. That’s a mistake, especially when strategic decisions can become “bet the business” level risks. It is often business owners and board members who have concerns over business concentration in one market. Concentration can also occur when too few customers generate too high a percentage of business. This need is often coupled with the board’s guidance to see a growth plan that accelerates revenues faster than it has achieved over the past five years.
Several businesses I have supported had ideas for growth, but no consistent methodology or approach to profile them, prioritize them, or financially model them. In addition, there was minimal collaboration between the Sales and Marketing and Operational groups relative to what investments would be required, the size of the opportunities, time-to-market, or associated business and technology risks.
I work with executives to implement a stage-gate process for opportunity management, employing a customized version of horizon growth planning. I teach teams how to adopt a unique opportunity scoring model. I’ve also found the range between identified opportunities has ranged from zero (no growth ideas) to 32 identified opportunities. Neither zero nor 32 are good numbers since zero indicates you have not thought about your future, and 32 represents a number too large for concerted action.
Often, we will identify and score 8-12 opportunities and then prioritize five for further financial and operational modeling. With the opportunities consistently profiled, we can create a new five-year financial projection for the business as well as decision trees to understand what was needed to move forward with each opportunity sponsored.
Business develop a detailed business case for the opportunities with the largest potential incremental revenue with my support. We then defined a go-to-market plan which resulted in a new market adding incremental revenue and profits to moderate concentration risk and contribute to accelerated revenue growth.