For many entrepreneurs starting a business comes with the dream of creating a fast growing company that customers love. But as demand grows and sales soar you can suddenly be faced with some very real and different challenges that you may not have planned for in your start-up.
Sometimes all takes is one big customer, one media opportunity or one photo, status or campaign to go viral and you can be faced with a flood of enquiries and sales. To ensure you handle your growth effectively and maintain your reputation along the way here are five points to keep in mind.
The more you systemise and streamline each task the quicker it will be to complete and the easier it will be to outsource or delegate to new and existing team members as your business grows.
Ideally you want to be systemising from start-up while still keeping your processes fluid enough to grow with you. This will ensure you can grow easily with minimal disruption to your business operations.
When you are experiencing high growth your time needs to be spent as productively and profitably as possible. Be ruthless with your to-do list and make sure any tasks that aren’t a good use of your time is delegated to another team member or outsourced professional.
3. Manage your cash flow
Staffing and other growth expenses can put significant strain on your cash flow, and if not managed effectively can cost you your business even despite its popularity.
To prevent this, ensure you are receiving regular financial reports so you can prioritise expenses and plan around periods of low cash flow. Also be careful about the staff roles you look to fill first. While you will need support staff to get the tasks done, you will also need sales people to bring in new business to cover your growing expenses.
4. Keep marketing
While stopping your marketing may seem like a good idea during high growth periods, it can drastically affect your cash flow. With increased expenses you need to ensure you have consistent income coming in.
If you are considering stopping or slowing your marketing down, make these decisions based around your sales figures and budget forecast. Know where your leads are coming from as well as your slow periods, lead time and conversion rate.
5. Watch your capacity
To maintain your reputation you need to grow your capacity as your business grows. Make sure you can comfortably service all of your existing customers and exceed their expectations as well as any new customers you bring on board. Your existing customer base really is your gold mine; they are the best source of new business so it is important not to burn them.
Before you bring in new business or say yes to a project, ask yourself “Can I service this customer effectively and provide real value?" if the answer is yes, go for it, if the answer is no, be honest. If the answer is yes but not yet, then book the work in at a later date. While you may lose a sale, think about how much more you could lose if you can’t deliver and they tell people about their bad experience.
How do you manage your business growth?