When a new business starts, it often has a burst of fast growth. You begin with some initial marketing and combine it with the human fascination with something new. After a while, the growth naturally slows and things begin to plateau. In order to get growth started again, it will take some smart investment of time and resources.
Seeking Managed Growth
Most people assume that any growth is good growth. However, expanding too quickly can lead to failure. If you overextend your operation, you will begin to miss deadlines and see a drop in customer satisfaction. Loyal customers will start to turn away, and your revenue will decline.
For the majority of businesses, managed growth is the ideal. Your business expands at a rate where you can keep up with client demand. You have enough revenue to update equipment, expand facilities and hire new employees in a measured way.
Invest in Customer Loyalty
Growth often changes the nature of the business. Customers who are accustomed to the owner’s personal attention may be upset as new employees handle interacting with clients. Your business growth may feel like a loss to them. If you are working to expand your business, it is important to pay attention to your loyal customers first. They are the ones who have kept you open and are the base that will sustain you through your transition. They are also the most likely candidates to give you positive reviews and the free marketing that comes as they recommend you to others.
Invest in Technology
In the modern world, investing in technology is essential to business growth. As you deal with greater inventory and accounting issues, you will want to update your software to programs that can handle the task. Up-to-date revenue management software will make the financial aspects of your business much easier to deal with, saving you time and money.
You also need to look at your hardware and data storage needs. As a small business, you may have been able to do much of your work with a single desktop computer. As you grow, you need to consider whether your business requires a networked system with its own server. You may also want to consider using remote access software that allows your employees to link to your system on mobile devices.
Web presence is another place for growing businesses to invest. Many consumers expect some kind of online interaction with businesses. A simple web page with directions and business hours is no longer enough.
Invest in People
One of the dangers of fast expansion is overtaxing your current employees. The extra stress on your staff can lead to lowered productivity and increased absences. If you are hiring in a rush, you may also bring someone on board who is not a great fit for your company. It is important to slow down, assess your needs and choose the right option for your current situation.
A full-time employee with a salary and benefits is a serious expense. However, you will eventually want someone who can handle critical areas of your business like finance or technology on a full-time basis. You also need to have enough staff to handle the day-to-day operations smoothly.
If you are not quite ready to hire another full-time employee, there are other options in some areas. A part-time employee may be able to pick up some of the slack in the daily tasks. For specialized areas, you may be able to farm out some of the work to a third-party specialist. A freelance designer can supply the material you need for your next marketing campaign. A technology consulting company can handle the IT needs of smaller businesses on an occasional basis.
Explore New Markets
As a business owner, you have to decide what growth is going to look like. For some businesses, it might mean expanded services or new products. For others, managed growth means opening a franchise in a new location. Once you have your vision of new growth, it is time to strategize. What resources do you need to get to the next level? What pieces do you need in place so you can grow while retaining quality? By investing in your business wisely, you can have managed growth that gets you beyond the current plateau.