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Posted: April 21, 2011

Execution as a competitive advantage

By Norm Thiele

Face it: Your five-year plan went out the window. So, what's your strategy for what you're going to do in the next 12 months? How will you energize your organization and execute better than your competition? Yes, execution can be a significant competitive advantage. And when you execute well, you can significantly increase your opportunities for growth.

Over the last two years, reduced capital flows and illiquid markets forced companies into survival mode, with the focus on significant cost reduction, organizational restructuring and cash preservation. Although the recessionary cycle lingers, the economy appears to be making a slow recovery, and businesses must now invest in the future. But how does one execute business growth amid great uncertainty?

As our political leaders remain gridlocked in an adversarial, ideological tax and economic debate, and the banking system and capital markets continue to cope with changes mandated by sweeping financial reform - how do companies navigate the complex and uncharted landscape of conflicting economic trends? It's no wonder our country's business engine remains confused and largely sidelined as company boards and executive teams struggle to adapt to myriad new realities. Clearly, companies cannot stand still amid these uncertainties and must position themselves well to seize growth opportunities as they present themselves.

In an effort to address the challenges these and many other related issues pose, ACG Denver has assembled an impressive group of highly successful business executives who will talk about real success stories and offer practical guidance and tools for leveraging execution as a means of fueling growth and creating competitive advantage. Following are highlights of what you'll learn at the 2011 Rocky Mountain Corporate Growth Conference: "Execution as a Competitive Advantage."

Keynote: Steve Forbes
As chairman leading Forbes Media, Steve Forbes offers real-world business advice, and as the editor-in-chief of the nation's foremost business magazine, he has his fingers on the pulse of every economic issue being talked about today. Based on his experience as a widely respected economic prognosticator, Forbes will address the current economic situation and provide insights and strategic advice for business growth and success during these difficult times.

Conference panel sessions
The conference will continue over six sessions where knowledgeable moderators will facilitate panels of accomplished CEOs and senior-level executives with experience across a wide range of industries. They'll offer practical advice and takeaways, as well as share successful stories of their execution strategies and growth.

Sessions include:

Financing in a tight money environment

Access to growth capital is often necessary in financing new initiatives, particularly where requirements are beyond the means of internal resources. Where will companies find these needed sources of capital and at what cost? This session will delve into the creative ways companies are raising and structuring financing solutions during our slow economic recovery. Takeaways will include effective execution strategies for raising capital and understanding the requirements to improve the likelihood of success.

Growth case study: Associated Content's sale to Yahoo!

Even though many businesses remain locked in neutral, there are many stories of companies that have successfully found and exploited new market opportunities and flourished in the last few years. This is the success story of Associated Content, whose founder will describe how his company was created as a website that published and distributed "crowd-sourced" content, and how the company grew steadily and raised money along the way. It ultimately captured the attention of Yahoo!, and was eventually acquired by Yahoo!

CEO roundtable: creating balance in uncertain times

This session features a roundtable of CEOs who will share their insights on how to manage organizations through significant change and find balance amid continued uncertainty. You'll learn what attitudes and operational adjustments these executives are making, what they are doing to energize their organizations, and how they are driving accountability for growth in the coming year.

M&A as a continuous strategy:
process, resources and deal making

For many companies, current markets are competitively saturated and offer limited organic growth opportunities. Companies in this position must explore new frontiers beyond their traditional core base, often through merger and acquisition. This session is designed as a practical forum to help company owners and executives understand and navigate the path of inorganic growth. 2011 could be an opportune time to pursue growth through a buy-side M&A strategy, particularly companies with strong balance sheets and limited organic growth prospects. You will learn how to develop an acquisition strategy; the role of intermediaries in the process; and the various sources of growth capital. You'll also hear stories about successful post-deal integration and the deal-killers you'll want to avoid.

Customer focus in the new economy

It's clear that intimate customer relationships are a key driver of business growth and overall success. This session is focused on how to maximize the customer experience in the sea of change in engagement channels that range from traditional approaches to emerging Internet-based methods.
You'll hear from executives who understand that the keys to a healthy business are sales and loyal customers. They know how the rules have changed in the new economy and have effectively achieved breakthrough levels of customer engagement. Panelists will share their strategies and proven tactics for uncovering prospects, acquiring new clients and retaining loyal customers to fuel continuous growth.

Rapidly growing companies: What are they doing differently?

In the spirit of the core theme and mission of ACG, we are hosting a session featuring CEOs whose companies have experienced extraordinary growth and are thriving in today's business climate.

These distinguished business leaders will highlight the principles, strategies and actions that contribute to their extraordinary performance.
You'll learn what these companies are doing differently to stay ahead of their competitors, anticipate future business trends, and adapt to major shifts taking place in their markets.

This year's conference offers an array of topics geared toward helping you survive and thrive in the current economic climate. You'll have the chance to hear firsthand from seasoned executives who have successfully "been there and done it" in achieving their growth objectives.
You may be looking to network and mingle with the most successful executives in the region; find new sources of growth capital; or simply seek useful and practical business advice and tools.

Whatever your inspiration, this year's Rocky Mountain Growth Conference offers an unprecedented opportunity to gain practical insights and immediate takeaways to help companies across all industries and markets employ "Execution as a Competitive Advantage."

Norm Thiele is managing director of Emergent Global, and Content Committee chair for the 2011 Rocky Mountain Corporate Growth Conference.
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