A growth strategy is a critical success factor for your consumer collaboration community to be successful and meet its value opportunities.  The value opportunities will change over time and the growth strategy will provide the guideposts to follow to achieve the potential.  The success of the consumer community will be very fragile to begin with and will require a great deal of patience, coordination and flexibility and the growth strategy provides the framework to build your success.  Just because you can offer or support a service does not mean that it should be offered or should be a long term service.

You cannot simply allow the community practices and development to haphazardly develop down paths without guidance and direction.  The growth strategy provides this guidance that identifies a set of objectives to measure the direction and also measurements that can be used to determine the potential and eventually success objectives for each of the services and offerings. Setting out the strategy in the beginning allows for a standard measurement and guide forward during the community development.  This strategy outlines how to measure along with a definition of goals that should be supported by the services and community.

It is important when entering any new type of engagement that you clearly understand and define your entry and exit criteria before you begin and the collaboration consumer community is no different.  In fact I would say that because of the participants and the changing services and technology it is critical that you have these definitions in place when you start.  It is also important that you realize from the beginning that because of the discontinuous change and speed of the change that your growth strategy must be flexible in order to meet the changing demands of the community.  This does not mean that you should be continuously changing your strategy, it does mean though that you should be continuously reviewing your strategy to ensure that it remains meaningful and continues to support your objectives. 

Your growth strategy is a key factor to the success of your consumer collaboration community and this growth strategy also plays a key role in the continuous improvement program that must be a central process supporting your consumer community.  These two tools provide the linchpins to the continued success of the community by providing guidance and measurements to confirm your direction and the value returned.  Never underestimate the importance of a guide and measurement tools in supporting your community.  These tools do not have a great cost to implement or maintain however they provide a great return and help to ensure the success of your community.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?