Most businesses in the creative and digital industries want to grow and I advise them on growth strategies based on their ambitions and their own definition of success.
Business growth in the creative and digital industries requires a combination of creative passion and smart business thinking. Plus hard work and a fair amount of luck. But the most important factor in business growth is the business model and its potential for scalability. If the model cannot be scaled effectively, hard work won’t overcome it. On the other hand, the deliberate choice of a scalable business model will enable rapid growth. Scaling up is a matter of working smarter, not harder.
The most powerful of all these business models is an exponential growth business model. The most successful businesses in the digital industries have a scalable business model that allows them to grow exponentially.
Unlike linear growth, which increases steadily, exponential growth is about rapid growth, for exampling a doubling in size every six months. On a graph, linear growth is a straight line, whereas exponential growth curves upwards.
Here’s a stunning example, comparing Hyatt Hotels with Airbnb:
The hotels corporation Hyatt has 600 hotels worldwide, across ten brands.
This means they have perhaps 15,000 rooms available globally.
They have 95,000 employees.At the time of writing, the corporation was worth $8.07 bn. (8.07 billion US Dollars)
Airbnb, a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging.
It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
The company has less than 2,000 employees.
At the time of writing, the company was worth $13 bn (13 billion US Dollars)
Furthermore, growth at Hyatt will be relatively slow, expensive and linear. It’s a company based on “bricks”.
In contrast, growth at airbnb will be rapid, inexpensive and exponential. It’s a company based on “clicks”.
The opportunities open to entreprenuers in the creative and digital industries, as we move from the industrial age to the digital age, described as moving ‘from bricks to clicks’, was featured in my keynote speech at The Digital Debate in Bogotá, Colombia.
In conclusion, business growth is not just a matter of combining a great creative idea with hard work. Crucially, it’s a matter of choosing the right business model that will allow the business to grow exponentially. This exponential business growth model is an example of using smart business thinking in the creative industries to achieve rapid business growth in the digital era.
For more information see the inspirational book ‘Exponential Organisations’ by Salim Ismail (available from Amazon). Salim Ismail is one of the founders of Singularity University.