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Grow, grow, grow! What a successful business looks like in 2022

  • 6 mins read
  • Article

The business community globally has proven to be extraordinarily resilient in the face of adversity over the past two years. Even with the challenges of COVID-19 and continued supply chain disruption, the mood among business owners is buoyant.

The narrative emerging from our latest Navigator survey is all about growth. Nine out of 10 business decision makers told us that they expect their overall sales revenue to grow. Many are looking beyond their own borders to explore new markets. Internationalisation is a key theme, along with investment in securing supply chains, sustainability and tech innovation.

"There’s no doubt that internationalisation will be the engine of growth over the next 12 months,” said Barry O’Byrne, CEO of HSBC Global Commercial Bank. “Businesses are looking to expand into new markets and they’re already increasing the number of suppliers they’re working with internationally. There will be challenges ahead, but there are big growth opportunities too."

So how is this growth story playing out with businesses of different sizes?

Delivery Hero is a business that knows all about growth. From its origins as a start-up in Berlin, over the past decade this online food delivery business has expanded across four continents, serving more than 50 markets with up to five million orders a day. Home delivery has become more essential for many households during COVID-19, and while the business saw a slight drop in order rates at the very beginning of the pandemic, it soon bounced back.

“We quickly saw rates come back on track, with more than one million orders in a single month,” said Christian Schmahl, Director of Treasury at Delivery Hero. “We’re set to continue with strong growth. There’s stiff competition in the food delivery market and we’re not only continuing with our plans in existing markets, but also building up in new markets across the globe.”

As well as expanding into new geographies, Delivery Hero is also adapting to changing customer behaviour by offering rapid deliveries in less than an hour and delivery-only supermarkets.

On a smaller scale, UK fashion retailer Cleverly Wrapped is seeing its own green shoots of post-pandemic growth. The brand launched seven years ago with a combined bricks-and-mortar and online presence. Both did well, but the e-commerce side of the business has really flourished, especially during the UK’s lockdowns. Now founder Harriet Cleverly is keen to push her online sales to the next level by harnessing the power of data to target her advertising spend and marketing budget more effectively.

Sustainability is another key area of focus for the business.

Customers are increasingly asking where products come from and how they’re produced.

Harriet Cleverly | Founder of Cleverly Wrapped

So, during lockdown when she had a little more time on her hands, she researched a reliable and ethical supplier to produce her own knitwear collection.

She settled on a small but well-established family textile business in Nepal. Based in Kathmandu, it is committed to having a positive impact on the environment, the community and the local economy.

There are huge advantages to working with this kind of partner. It means the supply chain is robust and transparent, plus Harriet has been able to build a strong relationship with her supplier. She acknowledges that the fashion industry still has a way to go on its sustainability journey, but that change is being forced upon it and it’s to everyone’s advantage.

As our two case studies have shown, with challenge comes creativity. The difficulties of the pandemic also opened the door to new opportunities, and our survey suggests these look likely to bloom further in 2022. Two thirds (66%) of the decision makers were optimistic about their growth in the next 12 months, and more than half (56%) expected growth of more than 10%. There’s evidence, too, that businesses are upskilling their workforce and investing in technology to underpin their plans for the future. With these measures in place, the growth story looks set to continue.

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