May 08, 2012
10 key actions to keep building momentum
By Dennis Smith
Although the past few years have been challenging, the outlook continues to brighten for many Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber members. As a leading global manufacturer, Milacron has worked hard to create partnerships that not only sustain our company, but also to lay a foundation of profitability and strength for future success.
At Milacron and in my experience leading other companies, I’ve come to believe there are 10 key actions that any company should take, striking a balance between streamlining your operation and spurring new growth.
- Strengthen your balance sheet - Now more than ever, you have to be vigilant in identifying unprofitable elements in your operation – and resolute in either improving or eliminating those elements.
- Don’t be risk-averse to the point of stagnation - You can and should work to improve your financial situation, but you cannot grow by standing still. Use the financial strength you gain from focusing on profitability to reinvest in high-potential aspects of your business.
- Keep investing in your business - New talent, new technologies and new facilities, as driven by current and anticipated customer demands, are essential to long-term growth.
- Innovate relentlessly - Customer needs are always evolving. Encourage and reward creativity that continuously leads to new products and services, fueling growth.
- Focus on your customers’ success - The only innovation worth pursuing is that which your customers are willing to pay for. Their success is the best way to drive your own.
- Marshal company-wide expertise - No employee, department or division should go it alone in solving a customer’s challenge. To provide the most complete solution, promote cross-company collaboration to take advantage of every bit of knowledge and resources you have.
- Maintain a strong brand - Always keep in mind what sets your business apart. And never allow a recession or any other challenge to get in the way of an excellent customer experience in every interaction.
- Communicate your strengths - Stay visible in the marketplace, frequently sharing stories and messages that demonstrate your expertise and uphold your brand.
- Partner with government entities - Rather than an adversarial relationship, the public and private sectors must collaborate to build a thriving economy. The areas of job creation, recruitment and training represent natural common ground.
- Attract and retain - With competition for skilled workers intensifying, don’t wait until you have open positions. Create and execute a plan to develop the skills of your existing workforce and keep bringing new talent in the door.
These insights continue to guide our success here at Milacron, and I hope you can apply them in your business today as we all work toward a brighter future for our companies and our region.
Dennis Smith is CEO of Cincinnati-based Milacron LLC, which comprises leading suppliers of plastics-processing technologies and industrial fluids around the world.