A Modest Proposal

To speak of doubling revenues or profits in one or two years sounds like hype and cheap propaganda. But this is no shortcut or quick fix. Almost every company has doubled or tripled once or many times in the past. Only then the process occurred more or less by itself or in response to a fortunate external circumstance. When doubling happens in this way, we rarely reflect on the real how or why that made it possible. Rapid growth in revenues and profits is the result of a process which every company can consciously utilize to accelerate its growth and dramatically improve its bottom line.

Energy is the driving force for growth. Every company possesses five unlimited sources of energy which can be converted into dynamic engines for rapid growth and high profitability. These engines propelled the growth of a Silicon Valley chipmaker from $7 million to $60 million in five years. They enabled a struggling $5 million Chicago precision machining company to escape from bankruptcy and convert $350,000 losses into $350,000 profits in one year. They drove the growth of a Brussels shoe repair service into a global service company with over 4,000 retail outlets around the world. By tapping just a little of the power of these engines, an ailing airline went from $20 million losses to $80 million profits in one year. Ford Motors rode these engines from $3 billion losses to become the most profitable car maker in the world. And one impetuous, young entrepreneur harnessed their powers to build a high flying $4.6 billion company from scratch in 15 years with the aim of becoming the largest transportation company in the world by the end of the century.

These engines are available to every company, because you already possess them. All that is needed is to consciously turn the keys that unlock their potential and release their powers for rapid growth and high profitability. Then doubling the company or the country will look like a modest proposal.

This is a book about the process of corporate growth, what makes it happen, what makes it stop and how it can be accelerated in any company to dramatically increase revenues and profits within a very short time. The emphasis in the last sentence is on the word process. Growth is a natural process that is occurring all the time, all around us. People grow, companies grow, nations grow too. This growth usually occurs in response to some fortuitous opportunity in the environment or it is compelled by the pressure of external conditions. But these are only stimuli that initiate the process, not the process itself. The process of growth is an internal mechanism in all living organisms and is propelled by its own energies. In companies that process is initiated and directed by management.

Companies are growing all the time without ever fully understanding how or why that growth takes place. In other words, the process of growth is usually unconscious or at best semiconscious. But occasionally there are individuals, like Tom Watson at IBM or Fred Smith at Federal Express, who have acquired a deeper understanding of the process and have utilized it to vastly accelerate the growth and multiply the profits of their companies. This knowledge and productive power are available for all who seek to acquire it. It is a knowledge that individuals can discover for themselves by observing and understanding the process as it expresses in their own lives and their own companies. Those who acquire knowledge of the process have the capacity to achieve extraordinary results in business.

We live in a country that has grown phenomenally over the last two centuries to become the most prosperous nation in the world. Our growth has been swift, spontaneous and exponential. So much so that we have not had the time or inclination to stop and reflect on the process by which we achieved it. Today this nation is beset with problems--a burgeoning national debt, an enormous trade deficit, a simultaneous mixture of unemployment among low income groups and lack of skilled people for higher paying jobs, and the everpresent spectre of inflation. As a nation we lack the same knowledge that most companies lack, the knowledge of the process of growth that made the nation great and possesses the power to make it far greater still, if only we fully utilize the country's and our own potentials.

In a real sense, individuals who discover the process of growth and accelerate the growth of their own businesses do a real service to the nation. They are the pioneers who show us what is possible and blaze a trail for others to follow. This book is intended for the trail blazers, who in growing their own companies, serve the nation and help it grow.

The book can be read at three levels: theory, example and practice. It presents the basic principles of the process of corporate growth. These principles are illustrated by inspiring examples of companies of all sizes and descriptions drawn from a wide range of industries, which have utilized the process to grow very rapidly and double or triple their profits in a short time. For those who are practicing managers, the book also contains a number of specific strategies for applying the principles in your own company or department and a series of detailed exercises to assist in making the ideas and their application as real and relevant to your company as possible. These strategies and exercises have been tested and proven extremely effective in our work with a wide range of companies.