Growth is something all businesses want to achieve. From an outsider’s perspective, growth is a no brainer — do everything possible to scale your business.
Sure, why not? You’re experiencing some success. You’ve talked to your board of directors. You have market demand. You have a plan. But any company going through growth mode knows that it isn’t that easy. New products, more customers, cash flow and personnel needs create their own challenges.
Get it together
There are several things every management team and its board should consider when growing a business:
- Have proper resources. Take the growth step only if you know you have the right personnel and financial resources to meet growth goals. Without them, a growth plan cannot be executed properly. Have a sustainable, manageable financial course to take.
If you think you will need three to six months of financing to make it happen, make sure you are ready for six to 12 months. Also, you’ll need the right people in place to support the increased workload. Stalling out in the middle of the effort because of inadequate funding or personnel can be more detrimental than not taking the step at all.
- Maintain your core business. Don’t forget about what is paying the bills now. Remember the part of your business that got you to the point of your growth and keep doing it well.
- Ask for help. Many leaders and business owners try to go it alone. The smartest ones know when to get help. Ask trusted advisers, key employees, peers, investors and those in your network who have experienced growth for advice on stretching resources, managing people in the transitional stage, etc.
- Engage your team. Your people are your most valued resource, so make sure they are engaged in the process. Work with your management team and board to prioritize your goals and focus your efforts on what is mission critical.
- Communicate with your entire team. In the initial planning stages it may not be appropriate for many reasons, but when you are ready to implement your growth strategy, it is important to explain your initiative. If you don’t control the growth message, your employees may assume something else is going on.
- Give valued employees opportunities for growth. They know your business and can help in the transition phase. Share the challenge with them. Ask them to take on new responsibilities and reward them on the back end with benefits generated through the expansion and growth such as bonuses, equity, etc.
- Learn when to say no. You can’t say yes to everything. When you are growing, you need to stay true to your core business. There are things that may fall off the bottom of your list. If these are things that you can do without, let them go.
Growth is exciting for any company, but there are challenges. When properly executed, however, a solid growth strategy and plan can be lucrative for any business. For those in that position now, congratulations on your success and good luck with your growth planning.