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Whenever the words “growth” and “business” are combined, people start to get excited—especially if the business in question is their own. But growth is a complicated thing, with many positive and negative implications. While growth usually means more profit, it can also mean a complete revision of the company, which can be a time-consuming and expensive task.
Before you can properly craft a growth strategy, you must first identify what ideal growth looks like for your company. Not all small businesses will grow or should grow the same way, and bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Everyone has an opinion on how and when to expand, but one thing is universally true: you must have some sort of growth plan.
“Too many small business don’t have a plan for growth,” says Robert Herjavec. “Even when my company was small and just starting out, we always had a target for what we were going to do each year. People are afraid to put a plan together because they feel it make them accountable, and it does.”
As you begin to think about your growth strategy, you’ll want to be sure you have all the right pieces in places. Otherwise, you could end up growing too fast or too soon (yes, there’s such a thing as both!). before taking any major steps toward expansion, be sure to answer the following questions:
Do you have access to enough Capital?
It takes money to make money, and this is particularly true during any period of significant growth. Even if you have enough capital to start a business, any sort of significant growth will most likely require an infusion of additional money. According to leaders at the Small Business Administration, “ The biggest challenge facing small businesses right now is that too many good, creditworthy borrowers still can’t find the capital they need to grow and create jobs.” In other words. If you don’t have access to capital, you may find yourself stuck in one place.
Have you Built the necessary Infrastructure?
Growing a business can be thrilling or terrifying, and often it’s a little bit of both. If you want to ensure that your growth is sustainable, you must consider both your infrastructure and materials before trying to expand.
Do you have the Manpower to pull it off?
There may be same situations where growth happens organically or by sheer accident. In those cases, you’ll just have to think on your feet. But more often than not, growth isn’t accidental; it’s a calculated and strategic move. Many of the entrepreneurs who appear on Shark Tank, for instance, know that they’ll experience a surge of growth once their episode airs on television. Therefore it would be in their best interest to secure the necessary employees in advance.
Depending on the type of expected growth, you may wish to bring on freelancers, hourly workers, or full-time employees. That’s up to you. But no matter which type of employee you hire, be sure that you have some sort of plan in place. There are only twenty-four hours in any given day, and you have to sleep for at least…two or three of those.
Does your Growth Strategy align with your overall Mission and Vision?
Many believe that money can change a person. Well, if it can change a person, it can definitely change a business. One of the most common hurdles an entrepreneur encounters when experiencing growth is maintaining the mission and vision of the organization.
As more opportunities begin to arise, naturally things start to get more complicated. for example, built their business on a handmade, artisanal product. If they experience rapid growth and don’t have access to the same quality of materials, all of a sudden the very core principles of their business are in danger. Now they must make a difficult choice: do they refine the mission to accommodate growth or do they stay true to the original vision and ignore opportunity? That’s a tough one. While there’s nothing wrong with altering the fundamentals of a business, you must be aware of the effect it can have on the organization as a whole.
When your business makes a promise, you sign an unofficial contract with the customer. When that promise is revised, so too is the contract, which could jeopardize your entire base.
Growth can be a magical and intoxicating thing. There’s nothing like watching something that was once just an idea transform into a beloved product or service. But too much growth at the wrong time can hurt, or worse, destroy a business. As you begin to experience growth, it’s a good idea to go back and review your original business plan. Update your market research, revisit your mission, and perform an in-depth analysis on your financials. Use this as an opportunity to refresh your goals and refocus your positioning.
What’s the current state of your brand? Where are you succeeding and where are you failing? Which marketing efforts are working and which are a waste of time? How do your sales match up to your projections? As you begin to revisit these crucial questions you may discover areas of growth that you never considered or hurdles that you didn’t know were even there. You might learn that you need to pay better attention to how you measure success. Perhaps you’ll find a new piece of technology that can greatly improve the efficiency of your operations. The more intel you can gather, the better off you’ll be.
Remember, Remember, Remember, growth is specific to your organization, and you must treat it as such. As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you not only to carve the path but also to lead the way. And that requires knowing where you came from and where you’re headed.
This Article taken from Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business
Written by Arshad. A
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