New challenges surface after the initial stages of business inception. A growing business is one of opportunity, but there are also many challenges along the way. We look at what they are, and how you can approach them.
How should I effectively manage business growth?
During the growth stage, a business should be consistently generating revenue, acquiring new customers and increasing its market presence. You’ll also likely experience rising overheads, increased competition, and the need to ensure that internal systems, processes and controls are able to cope with demand. Aspen Waite look at some effective ways to manage these challenges to ensure success.
Make time to work on your business, rather than in it
With limited time, you can’t do everything yourself. Delegate effectively and trust your team to free up your time to focus on reviewing, evaluating and improving your business. Consider utilising a coach or other impartial advisor, who can objectively challenge decisions, offer insight and act as a sounding board when you need it.
Focus on the areas where you can add the most value and hire people who strengthen your weaknesses. Collaborate and consider partnerships with service providers that complement your offering – everyone can be better off with more support when its needed.
Ensure you have the right people around you
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that business is all about people. You can have a fantastic idea and a great model, but if you don’t have the right people onboard, you can never be truly great. My advice to you is to find great people, nurture them, communicate and invest in them –through training, financial rewards and providing them with opportunities to learn and grow with the business.
This is also true of clients, suppliers and business associates. Find what you stand for and find people that share those values with you. Bring the best out in them.
Understand how your business is performing
Your business might be growing, but do you know by how much? Did revenue increase last quarter? What’s cashflow looking like for the next? Is the sales team on target? Are you maintaining your original level of service, if not improving it?
If you aren’t measuring performance, have no defined KPIs and lack visibility, you cannot make effective decisions. Having a regular dialogue with your accountant can be invaluable when they provide forecasts, budgets and management information. They may identify potential pitfalls before you stumble - sudden, unexpected growth could also lead to an unexpected tax bill or VAT liability, or unpredictable cashflow.
Manage expectations – always put customer service first
With increased demand from your customers, it can be easy to let standards slip – and the customer’s experience. One poor experience can lead to complaints, bad reviews, or them leaving your service. This creates additional administration and headaches – and you’ll have to find another customer to replace the one you lost.
Systems and processes may struggle to cope process a demanding workload as quickly as possible. Having internal quality checks are essential.
Always communicate to your customers clearly – managing their expectations is essential. By letting customers know what is happening, using an appropriate message, you can turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one. Empower staff and trust them, listen to feedback and work together through any growing pains.