Entrepreneurs keeping their eyes on the prize
London, 18 November 2009: Entrepreneur-driven companies are actively seeking growth and opportunity in the economic downturn by adapting the way that their companies operate to position themselves for market leadership when recovery arrives, according to new research from Ernst & Young.
Lesson from change – Future market leaders is based on a survey conducted in September 2009 among winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® program. It was designed to discover how they have dealt with recession and are preparing for recovery.
Over 250 of the world’s best entrepreneurs answered and revealed:
- Growth is still the goal: Despite the downturn, 78% of respondents are still pursuing growth opportunities.
- Customers come first: 78% have increased their focus on customer satisfaction/loyalty and 75% on expanding into new customer segments/ geographies.
- Cash still counts: But its preservation is not the central focus – only 24% were still seeking to secure their cash position.
- Innovation is important: 60% have a focus on implementing technology solutions to achieve greater business efficiency or accelerated growth.
- Some acquisitions activity: 49% are considering buying distressed competitors, while for 55% the main focus of such transactions would be to add strategic value as well as growth to their business.
- Risk is under review: 37% are putting increased emphasis on geographic risk exposure; while 30% are combining risk processes to save costs.
- Don't delay on decisions: 45% are increasing the speed of their decision-making since the economic downturn.
- Engage your employees: 57% are using greater communication and transparency in their efforts to retain employees. 46% are using the downturn as an opportunity to fill key strategic posts.
These attitudes can be compared to those expressed by more mature multinational firms in Lessons from change (LFC) – a complementary Ernst & Young report issued last month that looks at the current outlook for large corporates. LFC also concluded that these companies are no longer as focused on cash generation and survival as they were six months ago. However, there was a far weaker emphasis placed on growth and acquisitions.
“This survey confirms that, even in the worst times, future market leaders are looking for growth,” said Greg Ericksen, Global Vice Chair, Strategic Growth Markets, Ernst & Young. “These are companies that look for opportunity in the unlikeliest of economic conditions and continue to proactively take calculated risks to grow.
“Such trailblazers will be vital to the world’s economic recovery. They are the companies that can see how the world is changing and possess the flexibility to adapt to meet new circumstances. Companies such as these will drive the recovery and provide confidence that, eventually, there will be a return to robust and sustainable growth throughout the world’s markets.”
Note to editors
Lessons from change
Since January 2009, Ernst & Young has been running our Opportunities in adversity program to help businesses across the globe act decisively in the economic downturn. We have continued to gather deep insights from companies in many industry sectors and markets around the world on how they are managing in this downturn. We have pulled together these insights and tested our findings through an in-depth survey of over 500 Ernst & Young client service partners from our member firms across the globe.
Combining all that we have learnt from our clients gives us a unique perspective into how companies are responding to the new environment - Lessons from change.
Future market leaders
As part of the LFC program, and to provide the entrepreneurial and rapid-growth perspective for the current environment, Ernst & Young surveyed country-level winners and finalists from the global Entrepreneur Of The Year program. More than 250 responded to a questionnaire that was designed to discover their overall outlook on the prospects for their business, and the actions that they have been taking to weather the recession and position their companies for recovery.
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