How to Meet the Challenges of a Growing Business
As a business owner, keeping pace with growth and expansion demands can sometimes seem overwhelming until you consider the alternative: having to meet the challenge of a business that isn’t growing. Feel better? You should because if you are in the enviable position of having succeeded in building your business to the point that growing pains are becoming an issue, there are a variety of effective steps you can take to mitigate the problems associated with accelerated business growth. Even better, as you are initiating these steps to address the immediate problem of high business growth, you will also be positioning your business for sustainable expansion in the future.
Although there are many types of businesses, the challenges that growth can bring to each of them is surprisingly consistent. Knowing what these risks are, and facing them head on, can help to ensure ongoing success. Here are some of the core areas that should be addressed and monitored in order to ensure the health and productivity of your growing business:
Whether your business is a startup, a relatively new enterprise, or a veteran company, it is important that you clear your daily calendar—and that of your management team—of time-consuming administrative clutter that, although important, can be easily outsourced or digitized. In doing so, you will free up your time to concentrate on finding scalable solutions to address your current business growth. You will also gain quality time to brainstorm creative, new ideas that can ignite even greater business expansion in the future.
Review your business’ processes
The processes your business uses to facilitate mandatory functions—payroll, tax administration, employee benefits—and to manage growth—inventory, fulfillment, customer relationship management—obviously become more important as your business moves into expansion mode. By conducting regularly scheduled process audits you can identify and document new procedural requirements and new technological enhancements that will help ensure that your business is positioned to meet future growth projections on an ongoing basis.
Give up control
The desire to control things is embedded in the genes of most entrepreneurs. And yet, as a business starts to expand, the entrepreneur must evolve from a multitasking jack-of-all-trades mindset into a big-picture leader who inspires his or her managers and employees to meet and even exceed the organization’s mission.
"I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way."
The bottom line is that no one can do everything once a business starts to blossom. You will be able to play a much more valuable role in your company’s future if you leave transactional activities such as payroll, benefits and tax administration to specialists. Instead, recognize that when your startup enterprise transitioned into successful growth mode, it became the “team’s” company, not just “your” company. Let your team do what they were hired to do and inspire them to ascend to even greater heights.
Hire smart talent
Most entrepreneurs recognize the crucial role that talent plays in the success of their enterprise. But once a business encounters accelerated growth, entrepreneurs and managers often panic and go on ill-advised speed-hiring binges. Of course, the down side becomes evident when they quickly realize that they hired the wrong person for the job and the old adage—should have hired more slowly and fired more quickly—springs to mind. Hiring the best talent requires a skilled acquisition professional who will identify the skills your ideal candidate must have, use best-in-class tools to launch a targeted search, qualify applicants through pre-screening interviews, schedule management interviews with finalists, and conduct background and reference checks once a job offer is made. Unless such a professional is a part of your business’ team, it is often a good idea to outsource the process to a firm that can fulfill your recruitment requirements.
Keep an eye on cash flow
The foundation of your business’ immediate and future growth is investment—investment in your business, that is. Entrepreneurs often are so energized by the sheer excitement that occurs once a business goes into growth mode, that they neglect to manage their cash flow on a daily basis, assuming that everything will take care of itself. But growth means expenditures for additional staff, technologies, office space, supplies and much more. A few tips that can improve your cash flow include:
- Projecting what your monthly sales and expenses will be
- Collecting client payments as soon as possible
- Paying invoices on the last day they are due
- Setting up a cash reserve account in case of a shortfall
- Learning how to decipher financial statements
- Reconciling your monthly bank statements—yes, banks can make mistakes
Build in contingencies to meet the demands of change successfully
As your business develops over time, there is one constant challenge that you and your team will need to confront: the element of change itself. It’s a given that even the healthiest of businesses will transition through periods of growth, contraction, and renewal. The important thing is to recognize that you cannot control the external forces that impact your business. What you and your team can control, however, is the way in which your company responds to the changes these forces cause. The best way to ensure the continued growth of your business is to approach the demands that change brings from a strategic perspective. Build structural and procedural contingencies into your business model that will allow your products and/or services—and the managers and employees that keep things moving—to adapt to impending changes as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Business growing pains and challenges are notably consistent amongst all types of business categories. Addressing and monitoring these challenges head on will ensure the health and productivity of your growing business for years to come.
Learn more about how TriNet can be your strategic HR partner. Contact us today.
* BookRags Media Network. BrainyQuote website. Accessed 5/9/2012.
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