All business leaders aspire for fast growth, but an unsustainable strategy could stretch your company to breaking point.
How do you build your business while minimising the growing pains? Read our five key tips.
1. Plan for Growth
What does ‘growth’ look like to you and your business? Consider that more customers and revenue growth is great, but if you’re not profitable and cash flow is tight, your company could be in trouble.
Put a plan in place with budgets, margins and forecasting.
Put key metrics in place that will help you measure your growth and track your key performance indicators, as well as early warning signs. These standards will help keep you accountable and help you avoid any trouble that may appear on the horizon.
2. Understand the Costs of Growth
A growing body needs food, a growing plant needs water and a growing business needs capital. Some business owners find themselves under pressure when they realise there’s not enough cash to cover the extra costs that growth brings.
Create a strict marketing budget and stick to it – spending without limit in the name of growth is a dangerous position to be in.
And as your business grows, so too will your expenses – think about the extra stock, equipment and any new staff members that may be required. All of this is necessary, but you’ll need to be on top of your cash flow management.
3. Have Systems in Place Before You Start Growing
Your current systems may be working just fine now, but will they still be sufficient when you double your client base?
You’ll need to make adjustments to ensure you maintain high standards of quality control, excellent customer service and all of the factors that have helped you grow to this point.
It’s crucial to review your business systems and procedures, and optimise them for growth and scale. This may involve investing in new customer relationship technology, accounting software, outsourcing and automation. Without appropriate systems in place, fast growth breaks businesses.
4. Have Both a Short-Term and Long-Term Strategy
Your short-term goal should be focussed on the day-today and immediate future – growing while keeping a lid on cash flow. Your long-term strategy consider the vision for the company, where you want it to be and what it will take to get there.
And remember that some decisions you make as part of your short-term strategy could impact your long term plans too, so take the time to think it through.
5. Invest in the Brand
Invest in building a high-quality, reputable brand. Develop a culture that engages your customers, staff and community. This is a sustainable approach to growth that will pay off for years to come. You may need to take a fresh look at the vision and values for your brand, from time to time. Don’t be afraid to rework it to make sure that you’re still on-track, despite all the growth.
Think about how you want the business to be perceived in the market both now and in the future.
Don’t let rapid growth pull you away from your values and the fundamentals of building a credible, great company. Building your brand will give your business longevity, and maybe even a legacy.