You’ve established a company, it’s successful, and everything is running smoothly. Congratulations, that’s a fantastic feat. But…
… at some point every company will find that its growth has plateaued. Although things are stable, stimulating growth becomes an issue and the company isn’t climbing to the next level.
When this happens to you, do not panic, take these five steps and you’ll kick-start your business growth strategy.
What got you from A to B, isn’t what you need to reach C
Go to any networking event, and amongst the so-so wine and canapes you’ll find at least one old hand willing to pass on a standard piece of advice: whatever got your business from point A to point B almost certainly will be of limited use in getting you from B to C.
Pay attention to these wise words because shifting the way a business runs is a major hurdle faced by many business owners. Negotiating that hurdle is key to preventing your business from coasting, and here’s how you do it;
Growth Step 1
Stop and take a good look at what you’re focusing on. Many business leaders focus on ways to grow immediately, rather than working out why growth isn’t happening.
You need to ask why about everything. For a holistic view of how your company is going and to get to the root cause of why there’s been a slow-down, it’s important to talk to each level of your workforce and to your current customers about their experience of the business. This will give you an internal and external view of your company and its offerings.
By gathering this information, you will get a clearer idea of where the company’s focus should be: do you need to boost your customer service quality, or do you need to pay more attention to innovation and product development? Guesswork isn’t good enough.
Growth Step 2
For every business, there’s a vision. However, some visions exist only in the heads of business owners. It’s important for any vision to be formally written down; it’s a vital step towards creating a more aligned business.
A clear, strong vision aids in guiding employees towards tasks that make sense for the company’s overall success. It helps staff understand exactly where their contribution fits. A clear, strong vision helps you steer your ship where you want it to be.
If your vision isn’t written at all, make that your priority. When writing out your vision, it can be useful to first consider your personal goals; in many cases, the most successful companies have goals that work towards helping the business owner achieve their personal goals in some way.
If you find that your business’ revenue streams are declining, evaluate your vision. Check if it is still relevant to you and to your staff. If it is, ensure everyone in the business has the appropriate motivation.
But if your vision is no longer relevant, waste no time revaluating it and reshaping it to provide sufficient challenges to achieve more success, while also illuminating a bright future for every member of your team.
Growth Step 3
Just as different stages of business growth may require adapting your vision, different resources may also be required. And remember that your resources include the individuals on your team and the talents they bring to the team.
During start-up and the small business phase, entrepreneurial individuals, excited about rolling up their sleeves and mucking in wherever needed are real assets. However, when your company becomes larger, different personality types are often needed to complement your team in a variety of ways.
When your business experiences a slow-down in growth, take a moment to evaluate your team, looking at the individuals and their current roles.
Consider the ideal strengths you’d like in the business: Should you be looking for a sales person with excellent face-to-face communication skills? Or do you need a systems-oriented individual to help organise your administration? Or perhaps you need someone who is task-oriented to help run processes?
If there are missing strengths, consider finding new people, but also investigate the option of investing in your current team by offering training to develop skills in other areas.
Growth Step 4
Alongside your vision and your team’s skill-sets, you may need to re-evaluate your organisational structure; the existing structure may not align with the new business growth strategy.
If your current organisational structure relies on you – the business owner – holding a critical position in the business, this can inhibit growth because that structure relies on you filling multiple roles. This mode of operation is unsustainable and unscalable.
For your business to become larger, a more structured and clear organisational model is needed to allow processes to flow through the business effectively.
This will also allow each member of staff to have a clearly defined role and specific accountabilities; they will find it easier to fill their own roles effectively and make sure their work fits into the larger picture.
Growth Step 5
Testing, measuring, tracking and reporting are critical for business growth. Businesses rarely grow to great heights without having a clear tracking system in place.
Tracking individual performance may seem like a luxury to some entrepreneurs. They feel that time is better spent tackling the long list of things required to keep their business running.
However, it’s important to have clear visibility on performance to know if a business is growing or not? There are times when the only reason a business is not growing is because there isn’t a system in place to measure growth.
Defining the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for employees is down to the leader of the business. You need to decide what is the primary metric that determines their performance? And how is this being tracked?
You can then gain a clearer picture of which team members are in the right roles, and where there is room for growth. This picture allows you to adjust your business growth strategy to align with the metrics where your business is currently weakest.
The fiery growth that you experienced in the initial stages of your business may wane. But that does not mean you can’t get it back.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Shweta Jhajharia, Principal Coach and founder of The London Coaching Group. Despite a competitive economy, her clients across sectors consistently achieve measurable double digit growth (over 41%) and are the most awarded client base in UK. Other articles by Shweta include;
- Growing your business with the 3 layers of systems
- How to grow referrals with Strategic Alliances – And 5 features that make for fruitful partners
- The 4 Rs of getting more business from your existing customer base
- How to turn your customers into your best sales force
- How winning an award can get your business noticed, PLUS 5 ways to reap your prize’s full potential
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