If you’ve seen a natural increase in demand for your products and services, or have observed other indicators that you’re ready to grow, you might be feeling overwhelmed as a business owner. While some entrepreneurs eagerly embrace growth and expansion, others may never feel quite ready to scale up. You can’t force growth; but, if it’s occurring naturally, we encourage you to thoroughly prepare for expansion to realize the full potential of your business.
Expansion can be an exciting opportunity to increase revenues and brand recognition, but it can also be a quick path to failure. Successful growth boils down to preparation. While every business has different needs, all businesses—regardless of industry—can utilize these five essential tips to prepare for growth.
Five tips to prepare for business growth
Treat your customers like friends
A pitfall to avoid when growing a business is investing all your time and effort into new customer acquisition. Think of your customers as friends. Strong, lasting friendships require time and attention—so, if you pour all your energy into finding new friends, you may alienate your existing ones.
Make sure you continue to prioritize your loyal customers as you grow. These are the customers who will repeatedly use your products or services and become advocates for your brand. They’ll enable you to acquire new customers organically through word of mouth advertising—the most effective marketing strategy for growing sales today.
Find out what your customers currently love about you and what you could improve on. You can gather this data by asking customers for feedback, emailing out surveys, finding online reviews for your business or exploring a variety of other methods.
If you’re able to wow your existing customers and clients as you grow and scale your business, you’ll be well on your way to acquiring new ones!
Super speedy growth is exciting, but financially unsustainable in many cases.
In order to grow with intention and purpose, set goals that will advance you towards your strategic vision and follow through with achieving them. Too often we get caught up in picking low hanging fruit, even when these moves aren’t strategic, and ultimately turn out to be a waste of resources.
When setting goals, look at what’s realistic. Don’t try to acquire X amount of new customers tomorrow if you aren’t sure you can afford to keep up with that level of demand. Use old reports and records to forecast your potential growth. And, be realistic. The more accurate your forecasts are, the better equipped you’ll be to prepare your team and infrastructure to keep up with your actual growth.
Hire the best
As you’re growing, you’ll require more from your team. This means, naturally, that you’ll need to hire more people. While hiring isn’t a new concept, don’t underestimate the process. Entrepreneurs often discover that finding top talent is the greatest challenge they face while growing and scaling. Never settle when hiring; otherwise, you might regret your hiring decisions when your team members underperform or just aren’t a great fit for your organization.
Hiring top talent that shares your organization’s values isn’t easy; but, it’s worth it. To set yourself up for a higher chance of success, ensure your company culture (or aspirational company culture) is established and that you constantly share it with everyone on the team before expanding. The foundation of your culture must be strong before you can start building upon it.
Keep it simple
Take an innovative approach when growing your business by implementing the proper infrastructure to proactively meet your company’s needs. The most important thing to keep in mind when considering new infrastructure is whether it will make processes simpler and faster within the four walls of your workplace. Slow processes will hinder growth, so you want to focus on streamlining them before taking on more customers and clients.
Anticipate the impact that growth will have on your business and how you can alter your systems, hardware, etc. to seamlessly integrate those changes. For example, if you’re planning on increasing the number of clients you serve, you may want to implement a CRM system that will back up automatically to save customer data as it’s acquired over time. As well, different content management systems have the functionality to facilitate communication with your customers using automated messages that still feel personal and authentic.
Alternatively, if you’re opening an e-commerce store to accompany your brick-and-mortar store, ensure in advance that it will sync up with your existing POS system in order to automatically update product inventory.
Taking steps to prep your infrastructure for growth will save you a significant amount of time in the future while enabling you to serve customers better.
Put in the work
Like personal growth, there’s no magic formula for achieving successful growth in your business. It always comes down to whether or not you’re willing to invest the time and hard work required to succeed.
If you take shortcuts, it will show—which is why it’s so essential to create a strong company culture and hire employees who believe in your vision, mission and values.
The values, passion and the “why” that drive your business are the factors that attracted your loyal customers, as well as employees, in the first place. These things are also what keep you and your team motivated to put in the long hours on evenings and weekends. So, make sure you never lose sight of your “why” in order to save time or cut costs.