Many small to medium businesses (SMEs) want to grow. But taking the time out of business as usual to enageg in strategic planning can be difficult to achieve. The ANZ Business Growth Program aims to give participating SMEs the capablities to plan growth and the program, developed by Professor Jana Matthews Director of the Centre of Business Growth at University of South Australia, is open to management teams of ANZ business customers with less than 200 employees and more than $5 million in annual sales.
“The ANZ Business Growth Program gives CEOs the tools, knowledge and skills to identify barriers holding them back and strategies to help them grow. The ten companies who participated in 2015 have since created 114 jobs in total and achieved an aggregate 24 per cent increase in revenue, taking earnings from $132m to $164m,” said Professor Matthews.
ANZ General Manager Business Banking Tania Motton said: “Our role is more than providing finance or banking services, we play an important part in helping businesses develop and grow, this includes supporting their entry into offshore markets and better understanding their customers’ current and future needs.”
Canstar caught up with Professor Matthews and Ms Tania Motton for some additional insights, as below.
Canstar: How important is it for SMEs to take a step back from day to day operations and carve out some time for strategy planning?
Dr Matthews: Picking the right strategy for growth is important, but developing the plan to execute the strategy is equally important. Many CEOs don’t understand strategy, don’t know how to think strategically, and don’t know how to build an operational plan to execute the strategy. They may seek help from others, e.g., a consultant to develop a plan, but the linking of every person’s job and performance to the overall goals of the company is one of the secrets to growth. In the ANZ Business Growth Program we help business owners develop a vision, choose a strategy to achieve that vision, develop a plan, then think through the details of all the action steps required in order to implement the plan. One of the secrets to growth is being able to balance strategic thinking with the discipline of execution.
Canstar: The success statistics are impressive. Are there any particular modules that have received particularly good feedback from past participants?
Dr Matthews: Every component of the program is important. Business owners and participants are from diverse industries, have different needs and different levels of experience yet all have said the modules are useful and that they have learned new concepts that are applicable to their particular companies.
The ANZ Business Growth Program does focus on addressing some of the key needs of the business leaders such as helping them to understand what the gaps are and the proper structure for growth. We encourage them to connect with their peers and share their success stories as this real-life experience is invaluable.
Canstar: How did the idea for the ANZ Business Growth Program develop?
Ms Motton: There are 330,000 upper small to medium size businesses in Australia who want to grow. Many of these companies have reached a point where they have either stopped growing or don’t know how to grow. ANZ have supported this program as it is about helping Australian Businesses unlock their growth potential and the results are now evident along with strong positive feedback from the businesses involved.
This initiative embodies ANZ’s commitment to supporting the growth phase of Australian companies to enable them to start and grow. ANZ General Manager Business Banking Tania Motton said: “Our role is more than providing finance or banking services, we play an important part in helping businesses develop and grow, this includes supporting their entry into offshore markets and better understanding their customers’ current and future needs.
You can find out more about the ANZ Business Growth Program and ANZ Small Business Hub here.