You’ve survived the startup stage of your business. Great work.
What could be more fascinating and challenging than giving birth to a company? Well, like parenting, the hardest (and most thrilling) part is yet to come.
Most entrepreneurs think that setting up a business is the most dangerous stage in their entrepreneurial venture. Yet the truth is, growing a business can be far more exciting and perilous.
Think about it. You are most vulnerable when your business is at the verge of growing.
As the demand for your promising product and service increases, you are busier than the day you started your company.
Even the manager you hired is likely preoccupied with daily operations. Your employees also struggle to meet the order deadlines while keeping the quality of work high.
Five Tested Business Growth Tips
Many books have been written about ‘growing a business’. The problem with most of them? At best, they are impractical, filled with inspirational quotes and vague concepts that do not resolve the real issues, frustrations and concerns faced by business owners.
Instead of looking for quick-fix solutions, you need to examine timeless business principles to succeed when you reach the critical stage of growth:
- Refine or redefine your vision for the company. When you started your business, growth was one of your obvious goals. It could be through better sales, larger profits, greater market share, etc. Now, it is worth asking yourself where you want to take your business in five, 10, or 20 years and visualise exactly how you would get there.
- Identify potential opportunities for business growth. Know as much as you can about your target market and its current players through analysis and forecast. What is the nature of the new market you want to enter? Is it predictable or highly volatile? How would you size up the present players in that market? Can you win against them? If not, find underserved niche or customers and serve them better.
- Put in place systems, controls, and processes for growth and expansion. With your current organisational activities, will you be able to handle growth properly? One significant area worth looking into is your financial control. Some tough questions you need to answer are:
- Have you set up seamless systems for managing your cash flow?
- Do you know how to timing purchases right?
- How do you effectively manage your accounts receivable?
- Surround yourself with great people who share your vision. Do you have the right people at the right seats? Does everyone in your company understand and work according to the vision, core values, and standards you have developed over the years? Remember that you need a cohesive team in order to move forward. Know when and how to hire, reward, review, fire and retain employees.
- Bring in professionals to poise your company for growth. As a business owner, you have so much to do in so little time. No wonder why some entrepreneurs look for professionals to help them manage the financial, marketing, and sales aspects of their operations. These people are business advisors with valuable skills and experience to help you come up with a structure, a system, and a sound strategy to scale up your business.
Bonus tip: choose only one (tried and tested) entrepreneurial operating system and put it to work. Gino Wickman, author of the book, Traction:Get a Grip on Your Business, believes that there are only six fundamental factors that determine the success (or failure) of your growth attempts: people, vision, data, issues, process, and traction.
When all these moving parts work together toward the same goal, your business can begin to grow successfully just as other companies have been doing for years.