Business Growth: Making the Most of a Good Thing
It is a great feeling to experience rapid growth in your business and despite the excitement at how well things are going for you, there are certainly challenges attached to experiencing a meteoric rise in demand for your product or service.
Companies like beresfordadams.co.uk who now have a large inter-linked branch network to cope with demand, are an example of how to handle business growth.
Growing pains come in the form of a series of different issues to contend with such as hiring more staff, finding bigger premises and keeping on top of cashflow, amongst other things. So here is a look at how you might be able to make the most of a good thing.
On the rise
Despite a backdrop of economic uncertainty in the financial markets, it seems that business growth rates are on the march in general terms and if you are experiencing an upturn in demand for your business, you are not alone.
A recent survey carried out by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, has identified that about 40% of small businesses have experienced an increase in their turnover during the last 12 months and over 70% of these companies, expect to continue growing annually for at least the next couple of years.
There is a common misconception that most business ventures fail as a result of a lack of orders and work to sustain them, but if your business is ill-equipped to cope with the increased demands that come with growth, it can be just as damaging and equally likely to force a failure that could have been avoided, with proper growth planning.
Building a team
When you are at the helm and in charge of all of the decisions relating to the business, it can be very difficult to relinquish some of that management responsibility and delegate tasks and decisions to others.
The sheer logistics of running a larger company means that in order to manage growth successfully, you will need to build a team around you that you can trust and rely on to help you run the business in some way or another.
It is no coincidence that many great leaders surround themselves with a great team, so take the hint and invest in acquiring and building a team that possesses the skills that complement and enhance your own particular abilities.
Focus on the road ahead
When you first started out in business, it is quite likely that you will have formulated a comprehensive business plan which covered cashflow projections and sales forecasts.
When you start to experience rapid growth, it can soon overtake what you previously envisaged would be happening and the problem with that scenario, is that it can be all too easy to lose your focus and not update your plans to reflect what is currently happening.
There are so many potential distractions on a daily basis and many situations that require your time and attention, but it is still vitally important that maintain a focus on your goals and update your plans to reflect the current needs of the business.
Make the most of technology
There are a number of aspects related to running a modern business that are nowhere near as labour-intensive as they were in the past, if you use the technology that is now available to you.
There is almost certainly a viable IT solution to help you streamline the business in so many different ways, from sales and order processing to harnessing data and keeping on top of billing and other financial aspects that require constant monitoring.
Learn from mistakes
It is very unlikely that you will not make some mistakes along the way as your business experiences rapid growth.
The trick is to learn to identify them, rectify them, and then move on as quickly as you can. All successful businesses have made some mistakes and the key to surviving them is to learn the lessons and then refocus your attention to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.
Cashflow is critical
There is absolute truth in the old business adage that cash is king.
Without enough cashflow or funds in place to fuel your growth, you are running the risk of failing simply because you didn’t have the money that you needed quick enough. Growth eats into your cashflow at a rapid rate and when you are committed to additional spending to fulfil orders and pay your suppliers, it is critical that you plan for the almost inevitable gap that occurs between taking on more orders, and getting paid for them.
Business growth is a good thing to experience, provided you are prepared for the challenges it presents.
Tom Black is a business consultant who specializes in growth strategy. He has worked with businesses in many sectors and likes to share his knowledge by writing for business blogs occasionally.