Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lena Hemsworth. Her opinions are her own.
Most business owners strive to enter the business expansion stage as quickly as possible, yet only some of them are really prepared for it. There are many dangers that go along with business growth and being aware of them is what can make the difference between succeeding and failing.
The fact is that more than half of all startups fail during business growth because they just can’t adapt quickly enough. The very ways of handling a business need to be changed, and you as a business owner have to start delegating responsibility to managers.
Here’s a list of 7 tips to make your business growth phase more manageable.
1. Stay focused on your customers
Where most small businesses go wrong during growth is that the quality of their products / services drops considerably.
This happens mostly because businesses aren’t ready to handle the rise in demand so quickly, so the only way to speed everything up is to pay less attention to quality. This further leads to your good reputation being damaged, the very thing that actually brought you to the growth stage is now gone. And when the new customers don’t get the level of quality they’ve expected – you’ll have a hard time getting back in the game.
By staying focused on your customers and their needs you’ll maybe grow at a slower pace, but you’ll get to keep your existing customers at the cost of some sales. In the long run, building a loyal customer base is much better than constantly having to acquire new leads.
2. Give your website some love
In today’s world, your website is how people perceive your brand.
While your current website might be enough to support everything that you need at the moment, as your business grows your website needs to keep up as well. While there are many things that you can do for your website to support the growth of your business, the most important thing is for your traffic to constantly increase.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help you get more traffic through search engines, while you’ll also need to worry about having great UX (User Experience) in order to keep your conversion rates high.
3. Empower your employees
While you could probably take responsibility for most decisions during the startup phase, as your business expands you’ll need to delegate more and more of that responsibility to your employees.
There’s going to be too much to worry about for a single person, so the sooner you start empowering employees the readier you’ll be for business growth. Promote the employees that have been with you from the start and try to train them to better fit the manager role.
A company is only as strong as the people working for it, so always try to keep that in mind.
4. Become a leader
There’s a huge difference between being a boss and a leader.
A boss will rule, while a leader will inspire. The key to success of some of the biggest companies lies in this inspiration. Simply put, following orders can’t ever compare to the people that are truly motivated to push the company in the right direction. As your business grows, you will stop micromanaging every aspect of it and you’ll have enough time to take the role of a leader, one who keeps an eye out on employers, helps them when needed and rewards their good work.
5. Move to a bigger office
Company expansion usually means you’ll have to hire more staff. Even if you have enough space at the moment, it’s a good idea to think in advance and be prepared for hiring more people. Moving to a bigger office is the obvious choice, as you’ll not only have to find enough space for every new employee, but you’ll also want to have an office that can leave a positive impression on your new clients.
The smart thing to do is to decide on the date when your business will feel it the least. Since you’re still a small company, you should be able to move over the weekend, especially if you hire professional movers. If you’ve got too much stuff to do it in one go, you can always store some of it in a storage and only move the necessities.
When it comes to finances, your best bet is to stay clear of the big-league investors – at least in the beginning. The main reason for this is because you’ll want to have the final say when it comes to the growth of your company and if you do everything right the revenue you get from your customers should be enough to keep you going. You’ll probably need a strong financial plan, though, in order to keep your head above the water.
7. Bottom line
While business growth can certainly be chaotic and messy, it’s still manageable if you invest enough time in planning it. Don’t let the expansion catch you by surprise, as that’s one of the best ways to ensure your downfall. By knowing where your company is headed and always being aware of the next few steps you need to take, you’ll have an easier time growing your business and becoming a leader in the industry you’ve chosen.