We held one of our Mission Growth Speaker Events last week and had a interesting presentation from Pam Iannotti – who is a consultant to fast growth companies.  Pam's message reminded me that the journey towards growth can face issues and challenges related to funding at many different stages.

After her presentation we held table discussions to find out what issues are stopping and helping business owners to grow their business.  It came out strongly in favour of more factors helping them than stopping them and there was a great sense of opportunity amongst people even in these seemingly difficult times.

One of the issues identified as an opportunity was listening to customers – which means you have to be either delivering a service to them, or out there speaking to potential customers to find out what their views are.  It can be tempting to stay in the office – and to keep doing what you have always done.  And it's a bit more stretching to go out, listen and learn from the marketplace so that you can design products and services that really meet customers needs.

I was invited to be a judge last week at a University where the students had to pitch their business ideas to a number of us.  We had to assess them in terms of viability, sustainability and market knowledge.  There were some fantastic ideas – and many based on solving very simple problems that people experience on a daily basis. What it reinforced was that the students had also been out and about speaking to potential customers and assessing the viability of the idea.

So never underestimate the value of doing continuous market research to keep ahead of your competition.