leadership

The growth addiction: What’s the fuel that grows your business?

Naomi Simson /

We managed to achieve a pretty good growth number in the past 12 months. We are proud not just of the revenue and EBIT growth too – but more importantly the sheer number of people who receive RedBalloon gifts grows exponentially.

But why do we want to continue to grow, why do we have such an ‘addiction’ to growth?

We are impatient! There is so much we want to achieve and we are clamouring to do so. We want millions of people to have ‘good times’ with their friends and family and through that we will have changed the way people gift forever – ‘Experience Happy’. Growth has been consistent now for a dozen years and we’ve learned some important lessons about how to grow. It’s all about growing with strength and continuing to grow our intellectual capabilities.

Growth is at the centre of everything we do. And the two drivers of that are Customer Happiness and Employee Experience.

The BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is a game – a target, and as you may have heard in our radio campaign, we are just about to ship our two millionth gift (two years before we anticipated).

Simply, we must keep attracting new customers, new partners, and suppliers – and to support all this we continue to upgrade and innovate our technology. It is a continuing wheel of motion.

We need a vision to be able to grow rapidly.

RedBalloon CEO Kristie Buchanan, who’s been on this journey for six years, says: “If only we knew back then what we knew now”, or “If only we had not implemented it that way, we wouldn’t have to do it again now!”

But to be honest, we grew fast, we did what we thought we needed to do, made decisions on the fly and I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve always stayed true to our vision and values and that’s what counts.

We need great people to be able to grow.

The changing landscape of retail and the economy poses challenges and opportunities. People will become scarcer – we have been able to recruit amazingly talented people at RedBalloon. But amazing talent will become increasingly hard to find. Again we may have to begin to source skilled professionals from anywhere on the planet.
We need great customers who want to share the story to continue to grow.

Our number one referral of new customers is word of mouth. It has been that way for eight years now and has now gone into overdrive, particularly in the social media arena. Our key strategy is obviously to continue to perpetuate our story via word of mouth, so we have to “give them something worth saying” about the experience of dealing with us and their feelings after participating in an experience.

We need amazing suppliers to be able to continue our growth game.

The most satisfying aspect of running RedBalloon is watching the passion for the brand become catchy. I genuinely believe in the power that experiences have in connecting people and creating stories that people will tell and continue to tell. People join RedBalloon because they believe it, customers buy from us because they believe it, and we support an amazing community of experience suppliers (small, medium and large businesses) who get to deliver what they love doing to more people because of us. Each of those businesses in turn grows as we grow.

It’s kind of nice really, an Australian business supporting Australian businesses.

Growth is catchy – and good for the whole country.

Naomi Simson has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, RedBalloon.com.au, including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.

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Naomi Simson

Naomi Simson is the founder of RedBalloon, co-founder of the Big Red Group, author of two books and blogger at NaomiSimson.com. She also appears on Channel Ten as one of the investors in Shark Tank Australia.

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