I AM IN BUSINESS AND WANT TO DO BETTER

3. How to safely grow your business.

Business growth should be a signal of success, but growing without a plan or too quickly could just as quickly lead to failure. The rush to expand should be replaced with a sensible strategy that lets you grow your business safely.

While your growth plans should look ahead, there should first be a review of what you’re doing now. Taking your business to a new level requires a stable platform to launch from, and that means doing an audit of your current performance and ensuring you have the fundamentals in place. Here are the main areas of review:

Customer service and customer feedback.

Growing your business won’t guarantee that your customer service improves at the same pace. Now is an excellent time to review how well you’re looking after your clients and work hard on building your reputation. While your expanding business might concentrate on the acquisition of new customers, are you aware of the value that existing customers provide? The ongoing business they do with you is great, but when those satisfied existing customers recommend you to others, you create a wave of new clients to support you during your growth phase. Make it a priority to take customer service to a higher level.

New opportunities.

Growth and opportunity are closely aligned. New opportunities could equate to new revenue streams and to new clients, which will fuel your business expansion. As you look to grow, it’s essential to know where those opportunities are, and what they look like, so you can head in the right direction from Day One. For example, are you able to take your business from a local company to a national one, or even an international company? Are there passive income streams you could exploit? Can you franchise? These are the sorts of questions to answer at this point.

Marketing and networking.

If you’re not performing in these critical areas now, it’s highly unlikely you will in the future. Cast a critical eye on these matters as they are the lures that will catch the bigger fish that any growing company wants to attract. Reliable marketing and sales model should be put in place or updated to help you make accurate revenue forecasts, which will help you invest in a smarter and more targeted way as you fund your expansion.

Increase sales and review your prices.

Now is the time to do this, and not halfway through your growth journey. Financial instability thwarts too many expansion plans, so the numbers need to be solid before you go in any new direction. Thinking that business growth will automatically deliver a better bottom line is fanciful thinking at best, so a sales growth strategy as part of your expansion plan should be a very high priority.

Align outcomes with your team.

You might have firm ideas on where you want to go, but if your team members aren’t that keen on the journey, then you’ll have problems. Expanding can be an uncomfortable experience for many employees. It means a change in their cosy and comfortable existence and a move into a world where they’ll have to adapt and change. If they’re not capable of handling the transition, your vision won’t become a reality. You must be sure that your people are the right fit.

Review your sales funnel.

As you grow your company, you’ll want your conversion rate to grow with it. The costs of expansion usually require a broader client base, and converting a prospect into a customer becomes even more of an imperative. While your current sales funnel might be suitable for where you’re at now, it could be inadequate for where you want to be in the future.

Competitor review.

A review of this type is a two-sided task. You want to review the competing businesses who are in the space you wish to occupy. You want to know how they currently operate and pick up on their strengths and weaknesses, but you should also chart their growth trajectory to see how they got to where they are. There are lessons aplenty in that sort of study, but you’ll learn just as much by checking out competitors who are currently at the same level as you are. You can work out what stops them from growing, and see if the same applies to you. This sort of comparison, when done with a business very similar to yours, lets you look into the mirror to some degree and take a more balanced view of whether you’re ready to grow. Another reason to do a competitor review is to check how many rivals have the same plans and how crowded the marketplace place might become in the future.

Overhaul Your CRM.

Many of the critical things to consider as you plan your business growth should always be top of mind anyway, including customer service, financial stability, and marketing. So, no matter your plans, it’s a good idea to overhaul your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy. A CRM manages your interactions and builds relationships with your existing and potential customers, streamline processes, increases sales, and profitability.

Don’t rush into business growth, and don’t do it yourself. While it’s an opportunity to enjoy ongoing success, it also represents a real risk if you do it haphazardly. Seek professional guidance and exercise a little patience at the same time.

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