We spend so much time as business owners working on growing and expanding our businesses. Seldom do we ponder or prepare for the negative aspects of growth. Countless businesses fall victim to the damaging effects of a growth that is ill-managed and ironically face their businesses failing prematurely.
Your business is a machine. You need to make sure it is operating in a healthy environment; check all components are in good shape before you ramp up the velocity. This is especially true for young businesses. Poorly instituted systems and processes, investments into non-core business activities and cost inefficiencies can be fatal in the long run.
Here are a few key things you need to iron out in your business before taking it to the next level.
1. Know where you are going with your core business
Without concrete goals and a roadmap designed, you risk chasing multiple rabbits and catching none. While a certain project may appear to improve your business’ growth in the short run, if it does not fall under the umbrella of your core business, you risk diluting your brand and confusing your customers. It will also take from the resources you have to invest into your core business and you may find yourself struggling on all fronts.
2. Base your business on a foundation of efficient systems and a solid company culture
Especially in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), where teams are small, it is a massive risk to your business if you rely on certain people to drive your business and those people leave. Protect yourself by taking away this dependency on people and instead, put in systems and processes to mechanise your business.
Team culture is equally important to instill and get right before you embark on further growth. Growing with an unstable team culture provides opportunity for newcomers to disrupt your environment. You want your future employees to fit into your company, not have your business fit around them. Include team culture components into your systems and processes.
3. Continue to treat your existing customers like royalty
We may find that as we grow, we tend to our new and potential customers more than our existing customers. Be careful with this. You don’t want a leaky bucket. If this continues, and existing customers are dissatisfied, you may find that your marketing efforts are wasted on short-term gains. Ideally, your marketing efforts are producing lifelong customers.
Remember, word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing, regardless of whether it leaves a positive or negative impact on your business. Should they leave, your customers aren’t simply depriving you of their business.
4. Create contingency plans
Be prepared for the curve balls you could encounter as you grow. Think of all the possible situations and set plans in place. You will have no time to deliberate, nor will you be in the best mentality to do so when facing issues.
5. Have a solid financial plan
The worst situation is to have your business roaring and be unable to cater to growing demand. You don’t need to access funds at the present moment for growth that is yet to be proven or indicated. However, you will need these funds at a certain point in time. Know and understand how much you will need, and where and how you will be able to attain financing at each stage of growth.
Growing a business is not an easy journey but these few tips will help give your business the best chance at success.