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Growth is the name of the game for most small businesses. If you fail to keep growing, you begin to stagnate and eventually the market will move to someone else who is putting more in than you are. But before you start pouring money into the business, it’s important to understand the core elements of successful growth. Failing to plan for the proper allocation of your funds when it comes to scaling the business is an easy way to end up missing the market and wasting the investment.
Finding more market
This is perhaps the most obvious one. If you’re going to sustain your growth, you’re going to need the additional outcome to continue to fund it once your initial investment (such as a bank loan) is put in. This means finding more customers. How do you corner more of the market? Is it a question of visibility and brand awareness, meaning a bigger marketing budget could do it? Are there other services you could offer that could help retain more of them? Or might it involve opening a new location or office to give you access to another portion of the market somewhere else? All growth has to be able to keep itself going long after the initial funding has run out.
Spreading the infrastructure
If you have a larger market, then how do you make sure you have the resources, both in manpower and in equipment, to handle it? It’s not wise to blanket hire more people to every single section in the business. For instance, if you have a marketing and branding team that has to make quick, creative decisions, involving more people in that can only end up with a “too many cooks” situation. Look at where new hires are going to make the most impact. Similarly, just getting more computers isn’t always the best option. At some point, you have to consider whether you also need managed IT services to help maintain an internal network to better allow them to communicate, share resources, and work on different devices. As the business grows, its proportions are going to have to change here and there. Plan for those adjustments in advance before it gets so big that it’s unwieldy.
Strengthening your core
You should always be improving the core functions of the business and improving your success rate. If you’re manufacturing products, for instance, can you invest in more maintenance or new equipment that reduces the risk of loss? If you’re providing certain services, what software can make it easier to track workflow and provide them more efficiently? What extra levels of customer service could you implement, such as on-site live chat or a more active social media presence? Always be updating your core or it will fail to support the rest of the business.
The three areas highlighted above all demand your attention. However, the particulars of how you grow them will all depend on a lot of soul-searching, both in market research and looking at the organization needs of the business if it’s to get any bigger.