Profile: Juliette Denny, Growth Engineering

Juliette Denny started Windsor-based Growth Engineering in order to help early-stage companies realise their growth potential

Sunday 19 June 2005 00:00
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There's a simple reality to business: you must sell products or services. To be sustainable, you must make a profit. Not rocket science perhaps. But to be very successful, a business must experience "growth", increasing both sales and profits year on year.

There's a simple reality to business: you must sell products or services. To be sustainable, you must make a profit. Not rocket science perhaps. But to be very successful, a business must experience "growth", increasing both sales and profits year on year.

But how does a micro-business achieve such growth? Juliette Denny, 33, says, "Businesses must develop professional sales management around the activities that sit between marketing and selling. Failure to invest in lead generation will significantly impact growth."

This may sound like management jargon but the business graduate's understanding of these processes comes from experience, not from textbooks. At 23, she built a successful computer games distribution business from scratch and sold it. Then she was head-hunted and tasked to increase a large corporate's multi-media sales. Which she did - from £2m to £120m within two years, but she decided to go back to school, Harvard University actually.

"I wanted to learn more and test my ideas - a Master's degree seemed like a good way to achieve that", says Juliette. Her thesis focused on companies in crisis putting resource into closing current deals rather than generating new leads - the wrong way around. "If the work has been done, then a deal should go through. If it doesn't, then sales management isn't working. Being able to measure sales performance against key activities is what counts", says Juliette.

Having tested her ideas in real life, and in academia, Juliette returned to England and set up Growth Engineering as a vehicle to help companies with fast-growth aspirations. Her big challenge has been to engage directly with new business owners. Her clients include the £50m Capital Fund which backs fast-growing enterprises in London. When the Welsh "Entrepreneurs in Action" initiative defined an objective of getting 300 businesses from zero sales to £1m it was Juliette they asked to advise.

Juliette is in great demand, in part, she says because, "Surprisingly little has been written about sales management." So can we expect a book soon? "Funnily enough", says Juliette, "I'm writing one at the moment."

( www.growthengineering.co.uk; 01753 840331).

QUESTIONS PLEASE

Send your questions to Professor Russell Smith at ios@businessboffins.com. Selected questions will be answered each month. Answers are for the general guidance of owner-managers only; always seek professional advice.

Professor Smith is the founder of Oxford-based Business Boffins Ltd which, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University Business School, delivers sustainability support programmes to small businesses nationwide. Independent On Sunday readers can enrol on the university-accredited programme at a discounted rate; see www.businessboffins.com/ios

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