A growing business needs to be supported by a robust business strategy and sufficient manpower to benefit from growth. Without that in place, you could end up making your company unsustainable and unprofitable.
Here are seven great tips to manage business growth:
Understand your business
It’s vital to really understand what your values are as a business. What sets you apart from the competition? What’s your differentiator?
Spend time thinking about what makes your business tick and what you’re good at it. This will help you to decide how you want your business to grow. Creating a mission statement can be useful, as it will nail down your objectives.
Set realistic goals
Be realistic about what you can achieve. If you don’t have the resources or support in place to fulfil a huge contract or order, then don’t take it on. It’s better to be honest with a potential new client, rather than accept the work and do a bad job.
Set SMART goals:
- Specific: Have a clear goal in mind. Don’t just say, “I want to increase sales and cut costs”; be clear about how much you want to increase your sales by and the areas where you want to cut costs.
- Measurable: Once you have a goal, it’s important to quantify it. How many sales do you want? How much money do you want to save by cost cutting? Be clear in your objectives.
- Attainable: Is the goal actually achievable? Do you have the tools in place to make it happen and have you given yourself enough time to do it?
- Realistic: Is your goal realistic and relevant? Is there a market for it? Does it match your company’s vision and values?
- Time-framed: Set yourself a specific timeframe. Work these timings into your business plan and stick to them.
Know your growth market
Part of any growth strategy is to understand your market. Do your research and get a picture of how your customers behave and what they want. Remember, business conditions change constantly so do this on an ongoing basis. It’s useful to do a SWOT analysis, where you assess your company’s Strengths and Weaknesses, and then identify Opportunities open to you and any Threats you face. This will help you to establish a niche in your market.
Recruit the right people
As your business expands, you’ll need to ensure you have the people around you to support you. When it comes to hiring, it’s not just about plugging the skills gap; it’s about recruiting people who will fit into your company’s culture.
Then, once you have a great team in place, work at retaining them, ensuring your employees feel valued and that their roles and responsibilities stay fresh and stimulating.
Move from micro- to macro-management
To grow a business effectively you need to trust the people around you to make it happen. Growth can stagnate if, as a business owner or manager, you insist on overseeing every little detail. Allowing yourself to step back from the day-to-day running also gives you the chance to see the bigger picture to focus on business growth and development opportunities.
On the flip side, avoid being an absent leader. Employees like to feel valued for their efforts, so take the time to engage with people and offer feedback – this will make them feel empowered and boost their productivity.
Safeguard intellectual property
If you’ve worked hard to establish a brand or product, the last thing you want is a competitor swooping in and copying you – taking credit and profit for work you have done, or devaluing your brand. Take time to get to grips with your intellectual property rights and ensure you trade mark your product name and logo, and patent any new inventions or products. If unsure, it’s worth speaking to a legal professional.
Monitor your cash flow
A fast-growing business needs capital behind it and that means keeping tight reins on your cash flow. Good supplier management and stock control are vital – you want to free up money for growth, not have it tied up in outstanding debts or existing stock. Weekly forecasting is also essential – keep a close handle on what is coming in and what is going out of your business. New stakeholders will be much more likely to invest in your company if you have strong cash flow credentials.