When growing your business, being open to change is the key to survival
Businesses grow for a variety of reasons, including to increase their market pricing power, drive higher profits, or for the purpose of diversification. There are also a number of methods of expansion, from growing internally through hiring new employees, to merging with another company or introducing a franchise model.
Whatever the reason or method, business growth can be highly beneficial but it also brings its own set of challenges, as company expansion comes with new issues that demand new solutions.
If you are reading this, then congratulations – the likelihood is that your business is growing, meaning you have beaten the odds and avoided becoming one of the 6 in 10 businesses that fail.
The problem is the rate at which your business grows
If expansion has been planned for, and achieved, over a long period of time, growth is more likely to be sustainable and successful. On the other hand, if growth was unplanned or occurs too quickly, it could lead to a multitude of issues, for example:
- Reduction in the quality of goods or services,
- Outgrowth of current work premises,
- Stress amongst employees leading to decreased productivity or high staff turnover, due to an unforeseen increased workload, and
- Lack of cash to meet the requirements of new projects or increased product demand.
If expansion was unexpected, decisions can be made on a reactive basis, which may lead to any of the above issues. As a small business owner, in order to avoid problems and keep up with your growing business, you need to adopt a proactive approach.
One of the most vital proactive steps you can take is to let go
This may not be what you were expecting, but while growth signals a new phase of your business, it can also bring uncertainty. As a result, it can be tempting to hold the reins tightly during this period but rather than helping this could actually hinder further business development. Instead, to ensure that your business grows in a stable manner, you must learn to let go and delegate tasks to members of staff.
If you are progressing from a startup to a small business, you may be a solopreneur, or perhaps your staff consists of just you and your business partner, meaning you have no employees to turn to. At this stage, it is advisable to avoid charging in and hiring permanent full-time staff until you have had chance to fully consider the financial ramifications. Instead, consider advertising for interns or part-time workers who can carry out repetitive administrative jobs, or else outsource to a third party.
Furthermore, if you operate your business from a small office, putting your staff on a rotation may prove to be an effective solution, allowing you to hold back on upgrading your premises during this transition period. Alternatively, you could opt for virtual staff who can provide services with minimal disruption.
It is important to remember that delegation requires businesses to embrace change
This involves more areas than your approach to staffing. This is where technology can help with software and systems that can automate daily processes, freeing up precious business hours. For example, automating your payroll or bookkeeping will remove the risk of human error, resulting in more effective processes.
As well as improving current approaches, when growing a business, owners are likely to face obstacles that they have not dealt with previously. When this occurs, you may be tempted to knuckle down and try to tackle the problem yourself, but recognising when you need to ask for help is a sign of strength and vital for success.
In this instance, owners may consider reaching out to a mentor, someone who has been through the growth process and can guide you through expansion. However, if the situation calls for specialist knowledge, ask for legal or financial advice to help you plan for the future.
If your business is to grow successfully, planning ahead is crucial
As mentioned previously, if growth has not been prepared for it could lead to staffing or financial problems, so make sure to learn from previous mistakes and plan ahead for further business expansion.
In addition to specialists, there are a number of areas business owners should cover. As the lifeblood of any company, it is vital to forecast cash flow to allow you to plan for any shortfalls or periods in which business earnings may drop. It is also a useful tool for planning additional growth.
Revisiting your business model and plan is essential, too. The market, economy and customer demand changes continually, meaning your business needs to evolve in order to keep up. While you may have previously focussed on marketing and increasing customer numbers, as a growing organisation, the likelihood is that your priorities will change.
Remember, when growing your business, being open to change is the key to survival. This includes delegation, workforce structure and embracing new technology and processes. To surmise, change and resilience is the key to a successful transition and a stable business.
The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.
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