Growth is the lifeblood of any business. If you grow too quickly or without proper oversight, however, rapid expansion is often more of a detriment than a benefit. Companies become financially stretched, inventory is depleted, supply chains are stressed and, before you know it, customers are complaining and the business is destabilized.
So how does a business accommodate growth most effectively? How can business owners and corporate leaders ensure that growth doesn’t become too much of a good thing?
Let’s find out by discussing a few smart steps you can take to skillfully manage growth.
Don’t allow new business to harm your relationships with existing clients
A surge in growth is a heady experience for any business. Yet it’s important to remember the incredible value of your existing customer base. Their patronage, word of mouth and social media messaging on behalf of your business laid the groundwork for the growth you’re seeing now.
Too often businesses allow these relationships to wither in the chaos and excitement of a serious growth spurt. While it’s tempting to think you can add new customers faster than the rate of attrition, in today’s socially connected world that’s not a safe bet. Customers are profoundly attuned to any change in the level of service to which they’ve grown accustomed. It’s up to business owners to ensure that client relations don’t suffer during periods of expansion.
Surround yourself with the right support staff
A spike in growth is certain to present challenges, and many of them may prove quite vexing. How do you pay for increased capacity and production capability? How do you hire and train the right people in a short period of time? How do you know where and when to expand your physical operations?
These are all common business concerns, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to negotiate — one wrong turn and you could blunt any momentum you’ve gained. That’s why surrounding yourself with advisors who have navigated these issues is so critical. It could be an experienced new hire, or simply guidance from a battle-tested mentor. They key is to leverage the knowledge and experience of others, and incorporate that insight into your own specific plan for success.
One way you can successfully scale your front office or customer support team in a cost effective manner is to outsource with a team of professional remote receptionists.
Develop a management strategy that helps you scale effectively
The smaller the business, the fewer hands on the levers of power. Decisions of consequence are usually centralized, often in the hands of just one person. When a business grows, however, authority has to be delegated. Employees must be given responsibility for quality control and management issues.
This leads to an obvious challenge: How does one ensure the right decisions are made, and that quality doesn’t suffer? The answer is simple: Codify everything by creating a scalable organizational model that clearly assigns responsibility and core duties. When a company is small, it can survive without these kinds of clearly delineated plans and models. Yet it’s virtually impossible to maintain that status quo as your number of employees grows exponentially. Without an ironclad point of reference, confusion will reign, as support staff will be unclear about lines of authority and decision-making power.
Don’t be afraid to change course
You see it all the time — a new startup emerges with an idea they believe in, only to find that the market isn’t quite ready. Instead of staying wedded to the original product or service, however, the startup decides to pivot — and ultimately becomes successful.
Now, if you’re outside the tech world it’s not always so easy to scrap your original vision and turn on a dime. Yet every business owner should value the idea of flexibility. If your plan to manage growth isn’t quite working out, don’t be afraid to make adjustments on the fly. In today’s marketplace, things change very quickly, and business owners need to adapt to these changes and turn them to their advantage.
Rapid growth can be a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s great if you manage it well, but can hurt your bottom line if you let it overwhelm you. By following the advice outlined above, you can put yourself in the best position to reap growth’s benefits.