So, your business consecutively met its target goals year in/ year out, and you have perfected the model which makes your brand an attractive asset that’s relied on by your customers and clients. You’ve assessed your financial statements and other metrics to determine how fast you’re growing, how many new customers you gain each month, and successfully monitoring the repeat trade you get from existing customers as well as putting systems in place to increase retention. Utilizing these metrics, you’ve assessed your business growth, identifying elements contributing to that growth so as to keep growing. For a business that managed to ‘get its foot in the door’ and generate successful returns year in and year out, you’re ready for the next challenge; scaling your business to ensure continued growth, which introduces increased risk into your business model.
Business scalability is all about capacity and capability. A few of the many questions a business manager needs to ask themselves are:
- does the business have the ability and capacity to grow?
- Will the current business organization, infrastructure, and team be able to accommodate this growth or are there structural or personnel changes necessary to reach the next level?
Sometimes, because of growth, companies stumble through the uncertainty caused by necessary changes to systems and processes. So, whether it’s orders that slip through the cracks, not having enough bandwidth among staff to handle the increased workload, increased chances of miscommunication between people and units, or poor manufacturing or delivery capacity caused by faster throughput, the result might be unhappy customers. And, unhappy customers cause growth to grind to a halt or even regressive growth.
Along with factors to consider, such as finding the necessary funds to fuel continued growth and potentially employing additional staff or paying for strategic outsourcing, such as top SEO services, here are a couple of handy tips to help any business owner as they begin the process of scaling their organization.
1. Record, Evaluate, and Plan
Business growth doesn’t just happen. Growth relies on measuring, evaluating, and careful planning that considers both the goals for the organization as well as current performance. Knowing what’s working and what’s not is a critical first step in achieving business growth.
It’s not enough to simply accumulate data, however. You need a systematic evaluation of the metrics that can guide future activities. Then, you need a comprehensive plan build upon your insights that focuses on achieving business growth.
An important consideration as you evaluate and plan is recognizing that customer needs, wants, and desires change, sometimes dramatically and almost instantaneously, over time. Hence, part of your marketing planning to enable growth should involve sensing, a process by which the organization continually takes the pulse of its marketplace searching for changing customer needs and changes in competitive offerings.
For example, prior to the oil crisis in the mid-1970s, American automakers only produced big boats that consumed vast amounts of fuel. That made sense when gas was $.23 a gallon but, when gas prices tripled in a very short period of time, sales for the gas guzzlers declined sharply and consumers turned to more economical foreign cars from Toyota and Nissan (then Datsun). These imports were inferior in quality to American-made cars, which had reduced their competition in the US auto market, but Detriot didn’t offer the fuel economy needed by the marketplace, having ignored warnings from economists that gas prices would go up. In the years it took American automakers to improve their fuel economy, Japanese manufacturers focused on improving quality and beat American automakers to the US consumer market with cars that were both fuel efficient and high quality. American automakers have never regained their market in the nearly 50 years since.
2. Invest In Technology
Today, part and parcel with scaling operation to achieve business growth, the majority of businesses must include upgrading the technology used by their staff. A worker is only as good as her tools and if your staff must dealing with sluggish PC’s and arcane software that doesn’t communicate well with other parts of the system or doesn’t accommodate critical tasks efficiently, you’re likely to develop expensive internal problems that slow your operations or require additional, costly staff to handle certain tasks manually. In today’s business environment, poor technological solutions leave your operation open to hacking, hijacking, or malware that can not only destroy your relationships with customers, suppliers, and distributors, it can destroy the business itself. Implementing the right technology makes it easier and less expensive to scale a business.
When upgrading your tech to accommodate business growth, there are a few options available, but systems integration is a key area for improvement in most businesses. Small businesses may be able to use mainstream retail tech, which generally caters to the majority of a company’s needs without requiring massive customization. For larger businesses, there are more technological choices to support growth, such as upgrading in-house servers or even moving the entirety of the business to the cloud. Despite the high cost of such technological improvements, businesses find their operations are safer and more efficient.
Evaluate not only hardware peripherals but software options, networks, and other indirect hardware such as printers and telephone equipment.
Have you encountered any issues in scaling and growing your business? Let us know if we have misses anything and share your ideas in the comments below!
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