My consulting firm focuses on improving operations but with, the economy starting to grow again, we see a lot of companies seeming to prefer expansion or acquisition of new facilities rather than improving current operations. With a diverse client base, how can we identify growth markets so we can best position ourselves?
You are right that what passes as a growth opportunity increasingly includes acquisition. During, the recent phase of the economic cycle, many companies hunkered down, trimmed staff and expenses and improved efficiency. Now it's time to pursue the prudent expansion (but still not much hiring) strategy. I infer that you are asking how your consulting firm can get a sense of where your clients might go next.
The particulars of your industry will dictate what regions might best suit your positioning needs, but there are several sources of information you might find useful. Many trade and business journals regularly publish articles describing the "best" places for business. These address different perspectives such as best to start a business, best for small business, best for green business, best places to reduce your taxes, etc. Each publication comes with its own perspective, data sources and (pay close attention to this) their own political perspective. One source's "best" may differ significantly from another's based on relative emphasis on work-life culture vs. taxes vs. support structure vs. innovation systems vs. education/training capacity vs. recent population or job growth/decline vs. housing and land prices, etc. Be clear what sources and perspectives you (and your target client) think relevant and the validity of their data sources and analysis before settling on any one "best" list.Tip:
Since you are going to be divining what is in the mind of executives at your client companies, look first at articles aimed at CEOs. An independent business publication or journal is probably more objective than gathering city or regional business marketing materials. For example, ChiefExecutive.net
annually lists the best and worst states for business, at least according to their selected criteria.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA