Turkey has had a decade of great economic growth, but is now facing a declining period, due in great part to transnational monetary, trade and investment circumstances. She is now roughly in the same distressed condition as the U.S. and European countries, dropping from 8.2 percent GDP growth in 2011 to a current 2.2 percent growth in 2012.
Our book Market Your Way to Growth: Eight Ways to Win was written for companies in distressed developed economies, following the 2008 financial crisis. We endeavored to show how companies can grow through smarter marketing, even in difficult times. The book is now very timely for Turkish companies. The book was written for large, midsize and small companies across many different industries.
Evidently Turkish companies did some smart things during 2010 and 2011 to grow the country’s GDP. But declining growth in 2012 and 2013 does not look good. Our book will be useful to the whole range of companies in Turkey as the global economy declines and a measure of indigenous social disorder sets in.
-How do you evaluate current business environment in terms of growth opportunities? What are the biggest growth challenges that companies are facing today?
Turkey has a growing consumer middle class with a per capita GNI of roughly $10.000. This means that there is opportunity for more internal consumption. So its retail and service sectors has room to grow. But the more important issue is for Turkish Companies to expand export. Europe, you major trading partner, will remain stagnant for a long time. Your growth in export to Russia and CIS is impressive and should continue. There are strong ethnic affinities in CIS for your telecommunications and construction industries. The high upgrade of Turkish Airlines holds great potential for international expansion as a global hub. The strongest world growth is in Asia, Africa and Latin America. I do not know enough about your key export industries to suggest new strategic positions in these regional markets. But reliance on Europe may be a dead end.
-Of the 8 ways to grow, which one is the most important for the companies, considering today’s highly competitive business e-nvironment?
The Eight Ways to Win are not a rank order of strategic priorities. Companies have to pursue all of these paths. Each Company is in a different competitive circumstance and has its own unique set of strengths with which to move forward. There are strategic priorities for any given Company. Without Company details, we cannot say anything further.
-How can companies define the right way of forward growth for themselves? What do you suggest for them, what criteria they should they pay attention to when they choose the right way of growth?
The right way forward is a matter for Company management to determine. The key answer to your question is stronger strategic planning, management and operations in your Companies.
- Of the 8 ways to grow, which one is the safest and sustainable? Why?
Again, this varies for different companies. Safety is not a viable metric, because competitive companies must grow, and growth involves risk. The key is risk analysis, not safety. As for sustainability, this is a public environment precept, not an enterprise concept. If by sustainability you mean consistency of strategic policy that is another matter and it is very important.
-Considering the risks, which ways are most risky? What kinds of companies are making growth mistakes because of those risk?
The riskiest thing is to run a Company by the seat of your pants, without scientific and skillful management and marketing. Most Companies fail because of bad management.
- Gaining market share getting more difficult in today’s competitive business world… What do you suggest to those who want to grow by building their market share?
Market share growth depends on competitive advantage in relevant innovation, product quality, promotion, distribution and smart cost reduction for advantageous pricing.
-What would like to say about innovation as a growth too? What kind of companies should choose growing by innovating new products, services and experiences?
There are all kinds of innovation – in the business model, in product development, in marketing, financing, and in human resources to find and keep the best talent.
- Is there enough signs of innovation thinking in Turkish companies? Is this a promising pathway to grow?
We do not know enough about Turkish companies to answer this question. If there is important innovation, it should be better publicized so that the global business community knows about this. It has not come to our attention.
-How profitable would it be to work with government on public/private enterprises as a growth strategy in today’s business environment?
There is a great surge of public infrastructure throughout the world. Turkey has a strong construction industry and should find better ways to compete for public projects. What are your strongest niches in infrastructure construction? Advance these niche successes and build a global reputation.
-Growing fast can be serious problem for the companies specially in emerging markets… What do you suggest companies do in order to avoid those kind of problems?
Some companies are good at fast growth in both developed and developing countries. Some of China’s state-owned companies in rail, dam and road construction are very fast movers. Malaysia is moving very fast in tourism growth and hospitality. Apple and Samsung are fast movers in consumer mobile communication; Huawei and ZTE are fast in telecommunication equipment. In a competitive world, you have to be fast and smart.
-Of the 8 ways to grow, which one is the most criticaly important for the Turkish companies, why?
We cannot answer this question.
-What is your suggestion for the Turkish companies which want to grow by international expansion?
Every large and mid-size company has to expand internationally. We live in a global economy. Find the best fit of new international markets to your company’s strength.
-How can expanding overseas help Turkish companies?
Too general a question!
-Where will the new multinationals come from most in 10 years time? (Do you think we will see more new multinational companies coming from emergin countries?, and also do you think Turkish will be one of them? What is the change of Turkey in terms of building new multinational strong companies? What is the advantages and disadvantages of Turkish companies?)
You should read Brand Breakout! How Emerging Market Brands Will Go Global, by Nirmalya Kumar and Jan-Benedict E.M Steenkamp. They do a fine job of documenting and explaining the new MNCs of China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies. Turkey has to find its way to enter the class of emerging economies, like BRIC, that world business and thought leaders are paying attention to.
-Do you know any Turkish companies that are growing very strongly?
According to Chad Hilton of the University of Alabama, “The biggest players in the Turkish economy are mostly holding companies – Sabanci, Dogus Group, Koc, etc. So, it is hard to describe just what they do – they have many diverse businesses within their groups. BEKO (white goods) and ENKA (infrastructure) are visible on the global stage. Innovation is a driver for BEKO, and ENKA is capitalizing on infrastructure development in the emerging markets in Asia and Africa.”
Our only addition to Hilton’s comment is that Turkey and its top companies are not getting the message across. Turkey is still regarded as a hub of non-Turkish MNCs, rather than as a generator of its own new global MNCs. South Africa gets more attention than Turkey in this respect. Why?
-What are the companies that are very successful at growing right now all over the world especially could you please share with us examples from emerging countries? What are their secret? What makes them successful?
I think we answered this question.
-How can it be possible growing by building on outstanding reputation for social responsibility? Could you please explain us by given some successful company examples?
You have to read Philip Kotler’s Good Works. It is the best book on corporate social responsibility.
-What are the most deadly mistakes that companies make during they grow?
Every mistake carries a bit of poison. There are as many mistakes a Company can make as there are poisons. Enough mistakes or certain combinations of mistakes will kill a Company.