‘Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together' James Cash Penney, Founder of JCPenney
Your business is now up and running. You should definitely celebrate that achievement but the next challenge is creating long term sustainable growth. Whatever type of growth you’re considering strong foundations will be key to your future success.
Building scalable technology and systems
Investing in the right technology and systems can be a daunting and lengthy process and is best started before your current systems start to fail.
Consider your future business needs and make sure you are clear on what challenges you’re looking to overcome. Talk to your people, they are often best placed to offer insight into making key improvements.
Assess what technology you have in place and establish the gaps to prioritise where to focus first. Investment in new technology needs to be scalable. Consider how it will integrate with current technology or systems and your future plans.
You might need help and support. Talk to other businesses who have had similar experiences or bring in specialist knowledge. Whilst an upfront investment, specialist expertise can help you navigate the process quicker, mitigate risks and get you up and running on better technology faster, to improve your business’s performance.
Building Scalable Processes
The challenge for growing businesses is getting information that sits in people’s heads into the hands of those that need it now. Also the processes that work for you now may not be fit for growth. Reviewing processes can often be bottom of your list of things to do. Set time aside early on and you’ll save time in the long run. Consider the business you are looking to become. What systems will you be using and what processes will you need? Be clear about the need for any process and the value it brings to your business, and then focus on the most efficient way of applying it. Instil in your people a focus on continuous improvement. This will help both your efficiency and effectiveness whilst enabling you to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
What resource do you need?
Growing can often mean bringing someone in to help manage the financial side of the business. This can be a difficult transition for many business owners but one that is possibly essential to take the business to the next phase of growth Evaluate what your business needs are and bring in the right level of specialist expertise; this may mean recruiting a member of staff or outsourcing tasks and/or functions.
Identify a few key areas which can be delegated and get them running successfully. Have the right financial controls and reporting in place to provide visibility of what’s happening in your business. This will provide you with some comfort and keep you close to the financials on a daily business, without having to do all the work yourself. Ensure you free up your time to focus on what only you can do.
Data and insight
Growing your business means making tough decisions and taking action; have the right data and insight to underpin those decisions. Reporting should track business performance on a daily, weekly and monthly basis enabling you to take swift corrective action when needed. Start by capturing the right data at source. Then develop the best way to transform that data into reporting and insight.
The tortoise or the hare
Pace v process is a key challenge for growing businesses. Talk to people who have been on your journey. It’s a finely tuned balancing act between investing in key areas of your business and managing your cash and profitability. Know your vision and build your foundations with that in mind.