Many companies are currently growing fast. High demand particularly in the industrial sector has become apparent and there is a lot of work to be done. Although the shortage of raw materials and components creates challenges, all in all, Finnish companies have survived the corona crisis well and they are now compensating for last year's lost profits.
In the spring of 2021, Tesi commissioned an extensive study on the effects of the corona crisis on SMEs. 40% of the 1,683 companies that responded to the survey estimated that their turnover will increase. The corona crisis has forced companies to innovate. The Tesi study revealed that companies have seized the new growth potential: 12% of the SMEs that took part in the study had already in the spring extended their business activities to new international markets, 33% had made significant innovations regarding their products and services, and 40% had developed new ways of delivering products and services through digital channels.
Even if a company is moving in the right direction, it is important that it continuously makes new investments to ensure sustainable growth in the years to come. According to Pekka Ala-Pietilä's working committee, Finland should aim for a 2% increase in annual GDP during the entire decade. This would ensure that Finland continues to be a good place to live and work.
The coming years will be a real test. Before the corona crisis, the Finnish Ministry of Finance predicted that annual growth would be 1%, and that unfavourable demographics and skills shortages would continue to hinder economic growth in the coming years.
A GROWING COMPANY IS DIFFERENT
At the Kasvuryhmä Future Back 2020 event, Risto Siilasmaa emphasised that it is important for companies to determine how they differ from other companies, as this will help them determine potential success factors in their desired market. Systematically constructed differentiation can act as a trump card for companies. It is good to assess growth thinking now that there is a demand for it. For example, the view ‘if a company doesn’t seek growth, it will wither away and eventually die’ is rather laconic, and doesn’t actually inspire people on a personal level. A view that is more appropriate today and more representative of growth companies is that growth - and not just any type of growth, but specifically sustainable growth - will allow for more significant actions.
"Growth will enable more and more significant actions."
Growth gives a company the resources it needs to accomplish its aims. It is no surprise that new business models that significantly change the market situation are typically introduced by growing companies. Innovation occurs when a company has a strong position and a desire to do things in a smarter way and on a larger scale than before.
Successful companies have the best products, services and employees. Growth also allows for the creation of stories that spark people’s interest on a personal level. The best companies have a story that people want to get involved in.
TOGETHER WE CAN GUIDE FINLAND TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
The sustainable growth of Finland and Finnish companies creates an important shared story about how we want things to be done in the future. The best way to create a growth leap in Finland is by building it together. Finland doesn’t need a new Nokia, but rather a large number of companies growing responsibly and socially. It is precisely those types of companies that will ensure Finland’s growth through supporting and inspiring each other.
A great example of companies working together is medium-sized companies openly sharing their experiences. At Kasvuryhmä, more than a hundred medium-sized companies have been working together on their growth seeds, the most promising of which are currently being resourced with the aim of turning them into growth projects. The lessons learned through this important collaboration will be shared among the rest of the companies.
Even though companies in Finland are growing at the moment, rapid growth is also taking place elsewhere. What is essential for the future is how we manage to keep up. Selfless peer-to-peer sparring can be one way for us to guide Finland towards growth and to keep up with other countries, or even overtake them. Together we can succeed.