This month, we delve into the world of growth, expansion, and tackling this exciting, but daunting, step. You may be ready to go, all guns blazing, thinking you do not have to do any prep work before hitting the accelerator; however, there are a few very important steps you must tick off the prep list before putting pedal to the metal to ensure success.
The most important, and first, things you should assess before taking this leap are:
1. Do you really want to grow?
Many business owners say they want to grow, until they realise what growth actually means – to step out of your comfort zone, to shake up that commitments list, to hedge your bets and invest your income on this venture working out, and, most importantly, investing time in this venture, borrowed from other areas of life such as family time, leisure, sports, etc.
2. Is your business ready for growth?
There are many factors you must assess in order to truly answer this question, such as do your customers talk about a WOW experience?
Do your staff truly ‘get’ what your business is all about, and are they passionate about it succeeding? E.g. do they explain your business’s services and/or products to customers, friends, and family alike, as if it’s their business they own and want success for?
3. Do you have Business Policies, Procedures, Guidelines, “How-To’s”, etc?
If not, how will you ‘instruct’ this new venture forward? Will it involve far more time, money, and effort, than creating these documents would? How will you feel secure in knowing your new venture will run as seamlessly as your current, if you do not have a way to simply copy how it runs over to the new venture?
Think like a franchise – if you have a list of how-, what-, who, where-to’s, there will be very little, and minor, mistakes made by new staff should you be unable to train each and every one in how it’s “supposed” to be. And, let’s face it, who can really remember and recall each and every policy and procedure of their business on-demand? Most of us wouldn’t be able to, so let’s not expect it from our employee’s, either, and get those manuals created, published, and distributed.
If you have said yes to the above points, congratulations!
You really are ready to explore How to Accelerate Your Growth.
So, sit down, strap in, read the newsletter, and get those ideas (and plans) flowing.
It’s helpful to know the above definition, as it can help put into perspective what you’re really considering. Think about this: if you wanted to gain weight for an upcoming film role, would you continue to put in the same fuels you do currently? Or, would you increase your fuel intake? And, would you continue that exercise regime, or relax it a bit?
In terms of business growth, you would need to increase your fuel – which is your time and effort – and decrease things which may hold you back – such as hobbies, sports, and leisure activities, to ensure you have enough extra time to “fuel” your business growth. Consider these important factors before diving too deep into the growth pool as, without this fuel, your business growth dream will become exhausted, and struggle to get going again.
When we want something, we have to find out how to get it, right? Well, it’s the same in business with an exception of the “preparation” and “how-to” elements being one element.
Here’s an example: If we wanted to gain a new skill, we’d probably need to complete a certification, which requires preparation. So, we prepare, doing things like researching what certificate we need, which organisations offer it, how much it costs, and so on. Then, we could decide it’s not actually feasible for us to undertake this just yet.
However, with any kind of business growth, the preparation and “how-to” rely on each other. For example, if we don’t streamline our operations, and put policies and procedures in place [preparation], then how will we be confident our business will succeed in the hands of new staff if we continue following the “how” towards business growth?
Here are 4 main preparation tasks you should consider before going any further with your growth idea, as they will help to build a strong foundation on which you can grow your business, and ensure it succeeds:
Streamline Your Operations
As mentioned earlier, having policies, procedures, and guidelines, not just on paper but actually implemented and working for your business, are crucial. Remember, think like a franchise: can you hand over your current business documentation and trust the business will be run as yours is, exactly, and day-in-day-out?
Consider whether your operations are actually an effective use of time, personnel, and money – this is where removing clutter, and systemising your business, comes in. Business systemisation includes things like creating systems for each and every task you complete in your business, such as sending emails – could this be automated, rather than using precious employee time? And, is there a way you could ensure this task is completed the exact same way, every time, and by different staff, which would in turn ensure efficiency, and better productivity?
Consider How You Want to Grow
How you want to grow is going to define what you need to do to best prepare for, and invite in, growth. Let’s consider goal one of selling more products, vs. goal two of expansion:
Selling more products requires more planning, budgeting, and marketing, whereas expanding into new offices means you’ll also need to complete market research, obtain investors, business loans, liaise with realtors, hire more staff, and so on. So, to figure out what you need to do to achieve your growth goal, first write down how you want to grow, and then branch off from this, noting what you’ll actually need to do to achieve this.
Consider When You Want to Grow
Is now the right time for growth? Here’s a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself:
Do you have the spare time, resources, and finances to begin your research, or to finance updated documentation, new products or product testing, etc?
Is your industry stable, or could there be some major shake-up’s, or take-down’s, in the not-so-distant-future?
Will you be able to staff your new business?
Will you be able to meet product expectations, including on-time delivery, in the current market?
Is product testing currently possible, and viable?
Do you have spare time to invest?
Also, consider things like buying an existing business. You could find one where the current owner’s just do not have the time, energy, or resources, to put into it, and, instead, use what you have to reinvigorate that business to become an extension of yours. Taking a failing business under your wing, providing it’s in a stable industry in the current market, and able to have products stocked, and the floors manned, could be the best solution to scratch your “I need more!” itch.
Be Honest with Yourself About Why You Want to Grow, and If it is a Good Enough Reason
You must know why and be able to focus on this when you’re planning for, or in the process of, business growth. If this venture ends up in the “too hard” basket, you’ll be out of pocket in time (your time spent on the venture before giving up), money (your time out of the business; seeking advisors and their services; getting building plans; etc), and your motivation to go back to the day-to-day dwindle. Your why cannot just be “because we’ll make more money”, because what if you don’t earn what you were hoping to in the first year? You’ll then find it hard to carry on with the venture with such disappointment and missing your “why” goal. So, ensure your why is honest, realistic, and obtainable.
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