Rapid Business Growth: 6 Things To Consider
A growing business is surely the dream of any entrepreneur starting out on a new venture. Growth equals increased profitability and success, right? Unfortunately that’s not necessarily the case and, unless it’s properly managed, accelerated growth in a business can lead to dangerous territory. So how do you go about growing your business successfully?
- Product Quality. Increasing the sales of goods or services should be a conscious choice on the part of a well-run business, not simply a matter of chance. Before going hell for leather, first make sure that your product or service has been well-received by the market, quality is high, and the market opportunity is realistic.
- Analyse Your Success. Applying a critical eye to the success of your product will help you to determine whether you’re making sales because of high quality and a sound sales strategy (something you’re doing right), or because of a temporary fashion, chance opportunities or a lack of competition from others (temporary good fortune). If your success is down to the latter, take steps to provide a firmer foundation for your business before you take the plunge and expand.
- Plan And Review. Every successful business is founded on a clear and realistic business plan. This needs to be reviewed and updated every time something significant changes, including an expansion of the business. The new plan must consider the possibility that increased revenues will be outstripped by investment costs, at least in the short to medium term. This makes it essential that adequate finances are in place to prevent problems with cash flow. With a growing business, the plan will need to be reviewed more frequently than usual to account for a rapidly changing financial situation.
- Evaluate Your Position. Owner-proprietors are at the heart of many small businesses, taking on every task from sales and advertising to hiring and manufacturing. As the business grows, owners need to reappraise their own skills in order to decide where they can be of most use to the business. It can be advisable to seek out training in order to develop skills, for example in people management, procurement or marketing. Alternatively, a period of planned growth can be the best time for an owner to take a step back from the day to day management of the business and bring in experts to handle some of the more technical aspects.
- New Structures. A growing business generates an ever-increasing workload with new customer relationships to build and maintain, more time needed for quality control and close reviewing of the business finances needed. A higher workload means that more people will probably be needed, with clearly defined responsibilities in order to avoid confusion. Attempting to recruit new staff and put new structures in place in the midst of a hectic period of expansion can lead to mistakes being made or other matters being neglected, so the groundwork should be done ahead of time.
- Remember Your Customers. Rapid expansion can be an exciting yet exhausting period, with colossal time and energy being expended on developing the business effectively. In the midst of all of this, make sure you retain your focus on what generated your initial success: the knowledge of what customers want and your ability to deliver it. Good customer service needs to remain at the heart of everything that the business does. Remember, no customers = no business.
Many businesses stutter and fail at the point where they begin to grow. At first glance this can appear paradoxical: they have a good product that is well-liked by customers and revenues are increasing. The missing ingredient is almost always good preparation; without it, growing a business is sure to be a rocky ride.
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