Achieving consistent, sustainable growth is likely to be a fundamental goal for your business. Expansion can lead to all sorts of exciting opportunities for your company and new experiences for your employees. But it’s important to be prepared for the obstacles that might arise on the path to long-term success.
From managing uncertainty to maintaining efficiency in an increasingly complex organization, here are some of the challenges your business could encounter as it grows, and some tips to overcome them.
1. The demands of a growing workforce
To avoid placing unfair demands on your existing staff, enlarging your workforce is a key part of scaling up your business. Hiring new people helps with workload management but it can also prove vital in delivering the skills your company needs as it evolves.
Having more employees can create a number of challenges, from increasingly complex HR administration to the difficult task of engaging with individuals and meeting specific needs within a larger, more diverse workforce.
On the positive side, these are common business problems to which there are effective solutions, such as automated payroll software and HR management systems that help to deliver the best possible experiences for your people.
2. More diverse customer needs
Corporate growth is dependent on increasing revenue by bringing in new business. The inevitable consequence of this is having a larger, more eclectic range of clients, all with their own unique needs and expectations.
One of the fundamental steps required to consistently meet the demands of your customers is really knowing what they want. This involves the collection and analysis of as much client data as possible, as well as the establishment of strong customer relationships based on communication.
Healthy dialogue with all of your clients helps to ensure you know what they need and how they feel about the services you provide.
3. Business intelligence requirements
As well as understanding your customers and their requirements, it’s vital to have a strong grasp of the intricacies of your own organization and the people within it. This can become increasingly challenging as the company grows and becomes more complex.
With the right practices, policies, and technologies in place, your firm can maximize its efficiency in gathering and analyzing business intelligence. There are many software packages and solutions available to help you understand your developing business.
As your company continues to grow, focused business intelligence could be the key to maintaining productivity and efficiency.
4. Inventory management
More customers equals more stock.
If you have orders flying in and don’t have enough stock, you could be forced to make some very costly last-minute decisions. Even worse you could lose valuable customers to competitors because your are unable to offer them the products they want, when they want it.
However, overstocking can reduce your cash flow and tie up valuable working capital.
A just-in-time inventory management solution connects your real-time financial data with your real-time inventory data to help you only stock products when they are needed.
5. Keeping the supply chain running
A healthy, functioning supply chain is really the lifeblood of any firm’s day-to-day operations. Without it, you will find it extremely difficult to meet the demands of your customers, especially as you expand and take on more business.
So what is the secret to ensuring your supply chain remains fit for purpose as your venture expands? To begin with, it’s vital to be constantly looking ahead with medium to long-term sales forecasts and to prepare for how these projections could impact your supply chain.
It can also prove highly beneficial to maintain contact with a large and diverse network of suppliers, to ensure there is always an alternative available if one partner is unable to deliver what you need.
6. New competitors
As you grow, you could find yourself entering markets and targeting customers that bring you into the orbit of new competitors.
Dealing with competition is a fundamental aspect of the business, of course, but it’s important for your long-term growth plans to include strategies to keep hold of your existing clients and acquire new ones, regardless of what your rivals are doing.
It’s important to always have one eye on your competitors, but equally crucial is the need to maintain focus on what your business does well and how it can continue to satisfy customer expectations.
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7. New compliance responsibilities
Another unavoidable upshot of growth is that your organization’s compliance responsibilities will increase. Meeting existing rules and regulations could become more complicated as your firm and its workforce get bigger. There is also the possibility of having to meet standards from which you were previously exempt.
The recently launched General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) create a range of new compliance tasks that will increase in magnitude as your company expands.
As well as ensuring that everyone in your workforce is aware of regulatory demands and their day-to-day significance, it is worth looking into dedicated business systems that can help you stay in compliance with the latest legislation.
8. Keeping your culture intact
Amid all the excitement and potential of business growth, it can be easy to lose sight of what initially made your venture special and set you on the path to success.
An organization’s culture is embodied and maintained by its people. Take every opportunity to engage with your workforce, gauge people’s views on how the company is performing, and give something back to those who have contributed to your achievements so far.
With the cultural foundations that underpin your business intact, you can look to the future confident of achieving further growth and prosperity, whatever challenges arise.
Are you dealing with business growth challenges? Let us know how you are overcoming them in the comments below.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for relevance.