I want to start the Business Acumen series with a basic discussion point: Sales Growth. This has become the top subject in many offices and board rooms due to the recessional impact by the economy. Every executive is focused upon increasing revenues. It has become the number one thing keeping them awake at night. While I will discuss this point, I want to share the balanced approach to looking at Sales Growth – since their are companies that are still growing even in this economy.
Sales Growth is one of the first things you should be looking at to understand the culture within the company. There are three variables for you to consider when reviewing growth. First, you can have growth; Second, you can have a declining sales trend; and Third, you can have no growth or no change in sales volume. The key is watch the trends. One year is never enough to assess the progress of a companies sales. Several years of sales (Five years is best, three is a minimum and for large public companies – 10 years) One of the best sources for public company data can be found in Yahoo Finance.
Trend showing Growth over a three to five year period. There are several questions to ask regarding a growth company.