## 6 effective ways to build a sustainable business

There are cases when a company’s growth becomes greater than what it can self-fund. In these cases, the firm must devise a financial strategy that raises the capital needed to fund its rapid growth. The company can issue equity, increase financial leverage through debt, reduce dividend payouts, or increase profit margins by maximizing the efficiency of its revenue.

## Operations and the SGR

The SGR involves maximizing sales and revenue growth without increasing financial leverage. Achieving the SGR can help a company prevent being over-leveraged and avoid financial distress. In jargonized terms, sustainable growth rate is the rate at which the earnings and dividends of any firm can continue to grow indefinitely. The implicit assumption behind sustainable growth rate is that no new debt or equity is being issued and that the capital structure of the firm remains unchanged.

### What is B in sustainable growth rate?

The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is the maximum rate of growth that a company or social enterprise can sustain without having to finance growth with additional equity or debt. The SGR involves maximizing sales and revenue growth without increasing financial leverage.

The retention ratio is the flip side of the dividend payout ratio. If the firm pays out 20% of its earnings in dividends, then its retention ratio is 80%. The Return on Equity (ROE) is what the firm earns on the shareholder’s investment in the firm. Multiply the two together, and you have the sustainable growth rate.

Companies who plan ahead and maintain sustainable growth rates will ultimately circumvent unprofitable growth. Thus by managing the growth rate, companies can avoid straining financial resources and overextending their financial leverage. Rapid growth and increased sales are dependent on financial resources. So, in order to improve sales in sustainable growth, a firm will need new assets, which can be financed through an increase in owners’ equity (retained earnings).

In terms of growth rates, we use the value known as return on assets to determine a company’s internal growth rate. This is the maximum growth rate a firm can achieve without resorting to external financing. We use the value for return on equity, however, in determining a company’s sustainable growth rate, which is the maximum growth rate a firm can achieve without issuing new equity or changing its debt-to-equity ratio. We find the sustainable growth rate by dividing net income by shareholder equity (or finding return on equity) and subtracting the rate of earnings retention.

### What is a good sustainable growth rate?

Often referred to as G, the sustainable growth rate can be calculated by multiplying a company’s earnings retention rate by its return on equity. ROE combines the income statement and the balance sheet as the net income or profit is compared to the shareholders’ equity

## Sustainable Growth Rate Example

Stated another way, it’s the growth that can be achieved given the company’s current profitability, asset utilization, dividend payout, and debt ratios. By using the return on equity and dividend payout ratio, the SGR then enables firms to forecast future equity and develop optimal growth rates. The use of tools and machinery makes labor more effective, so rising capital intensity pushes up the productivity of labor.

The two formulas are similar because retained earnings include net income from past years, and both ratios measure the profit a business generates by using the assets on the balance sheet. Generating a profit improves the firm’s net cash flow and generates working capital that is used to operate the business. The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is a company’s maximum growth rate in sales using internal financial resources, while not having to increase debt or issue new equity. The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is the maximum rate of growth that a company or social enterprise can sustain without having to finance growth with additional equity or debt.

Returns on equity between 15% and 20% are generally considered to be acceptable. The true benefit of a high return on equity arises when retained earnings are reinvested into the company’s operations. Such reinvestment should, in turn, lead to a high rate of growth for the company. The internal growth rate is a formula for calculating maximum growth rate that a firm can achieve without resorting to external financing.

- The retention ratio is the flip side of the dividend payout ratio.
- If the firm pays out 20% of its earnings in dividends, then its retention ratio is 80%.

The SGR involves the growth rate of a company without taking into account the company’s stock price while the PEG ratio calculates growth as it relates to the stock price. As a result, the SGR is a metric that evaluates the viability of growth as it relates to its debt and equity. The PEG ratio is a valuation metric used to determine if the stock price is undervalued or overvalued. Use Excel and the ROE Dupont Analysis to calculate the Sustainable Growth rate from the Debt Ratio, Capital Intensity, Profit Margin and Dividend Payout. An internal growth rate for a public companyis calculated by taking the firm’s retained earnings and dividing by total assets, or by using return on assets formula (net income / total assets).

## Example of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)

The SGR calculation assumes that a company wants to maintain a target capital structure of debt and equity, maintain a static dividend payout ratioand accelerate sales as quickly as the organization allows. Sustaining a high SGR in the long term can prove difficult for most companies.

While the internal growth rate assumes no financing, the sustainable growth rate assumes you will make some use of outside financing that will be consistent with whatever financial policy being followed. In fact, in order to achieve a higher growth rate, the company would have to invest more equity capital, increase its financial leverage, or increase the target profit margin. A company’s forecasting and business planning can detract from its ability to achieve sustainable growth in the long-term. Companies sometimes confuse their growth strategy with growth capability and miscalculate their optimal SGR. If long-term planning is poor, a company might achieve high growth in the short term but won’t sustain it in the long term.

## How to Calculate the Sustainable Growth Rate?

As sales revenue increases, a company tends to reach a sales saturation point with its products. As a result, to maintain the growth rate, companies need to expand into new or other products, which might have lower profit margins. The lower margins could decrease profitability, strain financial resources, and potentially lead to a need for new financing to sustain growth. On the other hand, companies that fail to attain their SGR are at risk of stagnation.

If you have an estimate of the required rate of return and the growth rate on the dividend, which you can usually calculate based on recent past dividends, you can estimate a fair price to pay for the stock. In theory, you’d want to buy the stock if the price is below that level and sell it if you own it and it’s well above that price. Calculating the sustainable growth rate for your business can help you plan for the future and reduce the danger of becoming over-leveraged. The internal growth rate is an important measurement for startup companies and small businesses because it measures a firm’s ability to increase sales and profit without issuing more stock (equity) or debt. What is the sustainable growth rate for a company with Shareholder’s Equity of $400 and net income of $100?

## SGR vs. the PEG Ratio

Return on equity (ROE) measures the rate of return on the ownership interest or shareholders’ equity of the common stock owners. It is a measure of a company’s efficiency at generating profits using the shareholders’ stake of equity in the business. In other words, return on equity is an indication of how well a company uses investment funds to generate earnings growth. It is also commonly used as a target for executive compensation, since ratios such as ROE tend to give management an incentive to perform better.

The formula for Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is very useful for investment analysis. It may also be referred to as the annualized rate of return or annual percent yield or effective annual rate, depending on the algebraic form of the equation. Many investments such as stocks have returns that can vary wildly. The CAGR formula allows you to calculate a “smoothed” rate of return that you can use to compare to other investments.

While companies that require large initial investments will generally have lower return on assets, it is possible that increased productivity will provide a higher growth rate for the company. Capital intensity can be stated quantitatively as the ratio of the total money value of capital equipment to the total potential output. However, when we adjust capital intensity for real market situations, such as the discounting of future cash flows, we find that it is not independent of the distribution of income. In other words, changes in the retention or dividend payout ratios can lead to changes in measured capital intensity.