17th December, 2015
A good business strategy and effective management involves planning for success. However, how many businesses know how to manage growth when opportunities start to present themselves?
Growth can cause problems by stretching resources putting pressure on cash flow or committing too much of the business capacity to a single project/client. Typically any one of these would place what is ordinarily a stable, cash positive and sustainable venture, into “forced expansion” and possibly turmoil.
Growth is a wonderful challenge, but a stressful one, if a business is not prepared for it. Here are six tips to aid in managing success and avoiding forced expansion.
1. Control and measure your marketing and promotion
Identify and monitor where your prospective clients have come from so you can tweak marketing activity to increase or decrease lead generation eg Press release, pay-per-click sponsorship or ad placements.
2. Understand your service/ production capacity
Endeavour to have an accurate understanding of your businesses capacity/ availability to provide a product or service over a period of time. With this knowledge, a business can control its production flow rate, pledge order commitments that can be achieved and have the ability to manage quality and resource requirements. If a business reaches maximum capacity regularly then an informed growth strategy can be implemented.
3. Spread the risk
It’s often hard to turn work away. A client may want more and more from you if you are doing everything right but be careful one doesn’t account for too much of your turnover.
Consider the following options
Develop a multiple income stream e.g. vary the industries you target a little so trend/ market changes and its impact can be defused and not affect you directly.
Set yourself targets which define the max level any one project will account for your turnover.
4. Price right
If the demand for your service is medium/high but you don’t wish to grow too fast then modifying or increasing your pricing policy can be a good way of managing the volume of interest but retain the quality of clients you seek. Combining this with the control on marketing mentioned above is a very powerful mix.
5. Partnerships and referrals
Consider developing partnerships or referral relationships with competitors and/or related organisations. Funneling work to others can be profitable if a referral-fee structure can be arranged for times when you are not able to commit, a competitor has also been turned into an opportunity and you have dodged the negative PR effect of turning work down and the pitfalls of “forced expansion”.
6. Get a Mentor
It is always good to have an objective view from outside of the business to help identify issues, to aid in planning forward and be an experienced sounding board. Look locally for mentoring organisations and appoint one that has been there and done it before or is still doing it.
Written by Fardad Amirsaeedi, NBV Enterprise Solutions
If you are looking to expand or grow your business contact one of our partners for expert support and advice.
If you re a start up business with aspirations for high growth in the early years, the Start & Grow business support programme will be invaluable to you to help you reach your goals.
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