How to control your business' growth

Whilst organic growth occurs more gradually and naturally than buying up other businesses or entering new markets, it still needs to be controlled. You need to know how it's happening and be precise about your plans, targets and expectations for growth - because if it happens too quickly or without structure, it can seriously damage your business. Problems become amplified with growth. This guide alerts you to how to avoid them:

  • What to consider before you grow
  • Be cautious and conservative
  • What else to bear in mind

What to consider before you grow

Start by figuring out everything you need that you don't have in place already to achieve the growth you're aiming for - any extra staff, stockists, re-negotiation of existing contracts, marketing, means of distribution, management of new sales channels, storage space, raw materials, and so on. Talk to suppliers and manufacturers and discuss prices with them early on. If you intend to continue with only your existing staff, discuss with them whether they could handle any additional workload.

  • Figure out everything extra you need to achieve growth
  • Discuss plans with suppliers, manufacturers, stockists and staff

Be cautious and conservative

Organic growth doesn't mean spending money as soon as you make it - you definitely want to avoid that. Make sure you only spend as you need to - plan at least a year ahead in month-by-month budgets to control your finances. Avoid taking new staff on unless you really need to - if current staff are unhappy with extra workload, it may be cheaper to offer pay-rises than to employ new workers. Make sure there's a market for new products, services and ranges. Encourage and incentivise customers to refer friends rather than splashing out on expensive marketing campaigns to reach new customers.

  • Only spend as you need to - plan finances at least a year ahead
  • Avoid taking on new staff
  • Make sure there's a market for new business
  • Incentivise referrals rather than splashing out on marketing

What else to bear in mind

An expanded business usually requires more time. Make sure you and your team are able to manage it - that you realistically have the time and resources. Look at delegation of some of your workload if necessary. Keep in mind that it's much safer to test your business model thoroughly before expanding. Don't rush growth. Talk or survey customers regularly - incentivising feedback - to make sure that your ideas for growth are really what they want. And make sure existing customers never suffer in terms of customer service or quality when you're focusing on reaching new ones.

  • Make sure you have time and resources, considering delegation if necessary
  • Don't rush - test your model thoroughly before growing
  • Make sure customers really want growth and look after existing customer the same as ever

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