Business planning

7 common challenges to business growth

A core goal for your company should be regular, long-term growth. Expansion can lead to all sorts of exciting opportunities for your company and new experiences for your employees and customers. But it’s important to be prepared for the obstacles that you might face on the path to long-term success.

Whether it’s managing uncertainty or preserving efficiency as your organisation becomes more complex, there are a number of challenges your business is likely to face as it grows.

Here are a few examples and tips on how to overcome them.

1.    Meeting the needs of an expanding organisation

Growing your workforce is an essential part of expanding your business. Not only will hiring new people help with workload management, but it can also prove vital in acquiring the skills your company needs as it evolves.

Having a larger, more diverse workforce can create a number of obstacles, from increasingly complex HR administration to the difficult task of engaging with individuals and satisfying their individual needs.

On the positive side, these are common business problems for which effective solutions exist. Automated payroll software and HR management systems assist in providing the best possible experiences for your people.

2.    Customer demands will be become more diverse and challenging to meet

Corporate growth is dependent on increasing revenue by bringing in new business. As a result, you’ll have a wider, more diverse range of clients, each with their own unique needs and expectations.

Through the collection and analysis of as much client data as possible, and by building a strong communication-based relationship with you customers, your business will be able to understand exactly what your clients want, and you will be able to consistently meet their demands.

Maintaining open lines of communication with all of your clients ensures that you understand their needs and how they feel about the services you provide.

3.    Focused business intelligence is key to sustaining growth

As well as understanding your customers and their requirements, it’s vital to have a strong grasp of the intricacies of your own organisation 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 maximise its efficiency in gathering and analysing business intelligence.

Focused business intelligence may be the key to sustaining productivity and efficiency as your company grows.

4.    Inventory control is essential

A growing client base requires more inventory.

If you have many orders coming in but not enough stock, you could be forced to make some very costly last-minute decisions. Even worse, you risk losing important clients to competitors because you are unable to provide them with the products they need, when they need them.

Be wary of overstocking, though, as this has the potential to 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.    New markets mean new customers and new competitors

As your business grows, you could find yourself entering new markets and targeting new customers, putting you in the crosshairs of new competitors.

Dealing with competition is a fundamental aspect of 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 critical to keep one eye on your competitors, but it is just as important to focus on what your business does well and how it can continue to consistently meet client expectations.

6.    Compliance will become increasingly important

Another predictable consequence of growth is that your organisation’s compliance responsibilities will increase and meeting existing rules and regulations could become more complicated as your business expands. There is also the possibility of having to meet standards from which you were previously exempt.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) have created several new compliance requirements that will increase in importance as your company grows.

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 compliant with the latest legislation.

7.    Maintaining your existing culture

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 organisation’s culture is embodied and maintained by its people. Take advantage of every opportunity to interact with your employees, assess their opinions on how the company is performing, and thank those who have made your company what it is so far.

You can look to the future with confidence, knowing that the cultural underpinnings that drive your business are intact, and that you will be able to achieve greater development and prosperity, no matter what problems come.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for relevance. 

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