Written & Contributed by Joel Patterson
When running a business, you are constantly striving to promote growth. Once things start to take off, there’s often a whole new set of challenges that must be addressed. Here are a few tips I’ve found useful when navigating a period of business growth and expansion.
Don’t Lose Sight of Your “Why.” Seeing your business grow and thrive is exciting, but it’s important to stay focused on your mission. A rapidly growing business can sometimes take off in a direction that doesn’t align with your core mission. Periods of growth are an opportune time to reflect and realign with your “why.”
Learn to Delegate. As an entrepreneur, you often begin by handling almost every aspect of your business. As your business expands, you must delegate to manage your workload. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by your organization’s growth recently, look over your responsibilities. Are there aspects of your workload that could be handled efficiently by someone else?
Hire with Culture in Mind. Retention of quality talent is essential to the long-term success of a business. When searching for new hires, consider how candidates will do in your company’s unique culture. Of course, credentials are important, but the candidate that looks the best on paper is not always the best fit.
Listen to Your Customers. Your customers are the life force of your company. Never lose touch with what your customers want out of your brand. Especially in periods of rapid growth, be sure to focus on customer experience. You can show customers you care through meaningful communications and requests for feedback.
Encourage Employee Feedback. Speaking of feedback, it’s vital to listen to your employees as well. During periods of growth, lots of things shift and employees are invaluable sources of information. Their insight into what needs revision or improvement can help your business grow with grace and agility.
Analyze Your Inefficiencies. In addition to listening to employee feedback regarding ways to improve your business, seek out inefficiencies in the processes you currently have in place. Is there a manual task that could be automated? Are employees spending too much time on tasks that don’t benefit overall productivity?
Reduce Regulation Risk. A growing business has to be on the lookout for new government and industry regulations! Growth can take many different forms﹘ expanding your markets, utilizing new sales channels, teaming up with a distributor, rolling out new products, etc. Big changes like these might mean dealing with new or different regulations. Be sure to do your homework to ensure that you’re in compliance.
Integrate Your Processes. When a business is just starting out, the decision is often made to go with the most economical software solutions. This can mean patching many different systems together, which can be especially problematic during high-growth periods. Disparate systems will struggle to keep up with the demand, causing internal issues as well as a diminished customer experience. Switching to a comprehensive business management system allows all departments to communicate effectively and efficiently. It also allows you to access all the data you need at any time, rather than having to gather it from multiple programs.
Make Scalability a Priority. When thinking about how to navigate growth in your business, always consider the scalability of your decisions. Demand fluctuates over time, and (if things keep going this way) you will need to account for more growth in the future. Make sure the solutions you implement now can support growth in the future as well.
Bring in an Expert. All of this may sound daunting to tackle on your own, but the good news is you don’t have to! Partner with someone that can help grow your business and find software solutions that make business processes more fluent and efficient.
Joel Patterson (www.JoelPatterson.com) is the founder of The Vested Group, a business technology consulting firm in the Dallas, Texas, area, and ForbesBooks author of The Big Commitment: Solving The Mysteries Of Your ERP Implementation. He has worked in the consulting field for over 20 years. Patterson began his consulting career at Arthur Andersen and Capgemini before helping found Lucidity Consulting Group in 2001. For 15 years he specialized in implementing Tier One ERP, software systems designed to service the needs of large, complex corporations. In 2011, Patterson founded The Vested Group, which focuses on bringing comprehensive cloud-based business management solutions to start-ups and well-established businesses alike. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baylor University.