For one – any decisions or actions made during the formative years could have an outsized impact on long-term success.

So what did successful businesses do in the early years that allowed them to scale to greater heights today? NetSuite spoke with 14 fast-growing businesses and franchises that have expanded or continue to expand across Australia and the world and uncovered several eye-opening insights along the way.

These insights have been distilled into three broad categories: Purpose, People and Processes. Beyond just profits, the businesses we spoke to paid special attention to at least one or two of these categories early on, gradually building them into the foundation supporting their growth and expansion.

Ambitious businesses should consider how they can incorporate these insights into their operations – if they haven’t already – to further fuel growth for years to come.

Purpose is Crucial to Driving Growth
While profitability is the underlying motivator for most businesses, it shouldn’t be the only reason they exist. Growth-minded businesses hold a very clear sense of purpose: this purpose drives everything from business values to product development, to interaction with customers. Clothing manufacturer Mons Royale is a prime example. Its founder, Hamish Acland, ensures that the business consistently uses the most durable material and designs for its adventure sports offerings – a conviction he holds from his years as a professional skier. Aligning this vision to a purpose provides Mons Royale with a clear direction and objective.

To support their purpose, successful businesses also emphasise the need to establish core values and principles from the get-go. These values or principles commonly centre around collective beliefs, ethical business practices or methodologies. Well-defined values don’t just resonate well with customers – who are increasingly choosing to buy from those that share their beliefs – it also helps keep the business together as it undergoes the pressures of growth or expansion. It fosters loyalty and relevance, not just with customers, but also with employees, whom Acland states are “engaged and stoked to come to work.”

People Will Sustain Your Momentum
Without the buy-in from its people, a business may struggle to survive. Employees ultimately service customers and propel the business. It’s no surprise then, that our growth-minded businesses place tremendous trust and confidence in their people. It helps, of course, if they give employees the in-depth data and visibility required to form and justify their decisions. This ultimately frees the headspace of founders and entrepreneurs, allowing them to focus on higher-value activities.

This approach also means that successful businesses are careful in their hiring. Founders stress the importance of hiring individuals that aren’t just proficient and skilful, but can also click with the core values of the business. As they grow, all businesses realise that they need to streamline time-consuming hiring processes so that interviewers have the right HR data to vet, match and evaluate potential employees. Doing so also allows the business to focus on retaining quality candidates with the right character and skills, such as candidates that are “problem-solvers, open-minded and ready to try new things,” according to Brett Ketelbey from online wine merchant, Different Drop.

Processes Keep Growth Afloat
Besides hiring, these businesses also make sure that they adopt other business-critical systems and processes early on. Establishing efficient processes on cloud-based ERP solutions like NetSuite allowed ELMO, an integrated cloud HR, payroll, rostering and time and attendance solution, to optimise accounting from the get-go, while Poolwerx, a pool maintenance and supplier franchise business, has been able to maintain visibility of more than 575 service vans and 160 retail stores over 355 territories across Australia, New Zealand and America.

Kicking off with the right processes in place early has given most successful businesses greater agility and flexibility, as their employees can easily obtain data for immediate decision making.

Having tried and tested processes in place also allows businesses to better dictate the velocity and cadence of their growth. Businesses like Speedmaster, which sells, assembles and manufactures high performance engine parts, managed to expand its core businesses to also build custom vehicles.

Other businesses, like Canva, a simplified graphic-design tool website, took the opportunity to adopt a sustainable growth plan that has boosted collaboration and productivity across the business. Several other businesses, like juice brand Emma & Toms, tap into NetSuite solutions to enable more fluid product development, while others use collected data to perform ‘alignment checks’ every six months to ensure their business remains aligned with their purpose.

The path to achieving business goals doesn’t just lie in profitability; more than ever, less intuitive factors like purpose, people and processes have come into play. With the right mindset – and the right technological solutions – businesses will be in a good position to address the factors most relevant to them, paving the way to sustainable growth, quality offerings and happier customers.


Access all six curated insights from NetSuite’s interview of Australia’s 14 most successful businesses and franchises by downloading the whitepaper Fundamental Paths To Success.