In a previous article, we discussed the importance of executives mastering key fundamentals, such as having a solid business strategy with a keen focus on organizational culture. These fundamentals are critical for organizations when building a foundation for success, especially for middle-market companies seeking corporate growth through mergers and acquisitions.

While these strategies are highly important for organizations to master in the early phase of setting a strategic foundation, the planning for success doesn’t stop there. Companies must move from developing and implementing a solid vision to incorporating a pathway for growth.

Of course, choosing the right pathway for growth is critical and is considered to be “the heart of business,” according to David Braun, Founder and CEO of Capstone Strategic, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in meeting the unique demands of mid-market companies and their corporate growth initiatives.

“Growth can be best thought of as a ‘re-calibration;’ it’s about redefining what a company is about,” says David. “There are several pathways that companies can choose for growth. Some of the common pathways include organic growth, exiting the market, becoming a low-cost provider, or simply doing nothing – a strategy by default which is more common than one might think.”

When these pathways don’t produce lasting results for a company, an external growth pathway may be the solution. According to David, “External growth can be the fastest path to growth. The challenge however, is choosing the right form of external growth to best serve the organization’s needs.”

For example, “A strategic alliance is easy to set up but suffers from minimal commitment and involves considerable risk, while franchising requires a highly defined system and a strong brand to succeed. Buying a minority interest in another company is a much neglected option since it offers less control. Yet this route can provide affordable access to capabilities, products or markets that would otherwise be out of reach,” says David.

“For many companies the best pathway” David points out, “can be external growth through acquisitions.” With a solid road map, organizations can develop, implement, and execute on an acquisition that can produce maximum advantage and minimum risk.

“Adopting the right roadmap for acquisitions can set a firm up for success. Once a logical process is in place, the next step is to implement the plan to transform the blueprint into solid reality.”

Ultimately, “Business is about growth — a business must grow or it will eventually die”, says David. While developing and implementing a solid strategic foundation is essential, companies must implement a roadmap that incorporates a pathway for growth that leads to success in this difficult economic environment.