The Best Ways for Small Business Owners to Handle Rapid Growth
This is a guest post from Jori Hamilton (see her bio below). Thanks Jori.
Small businesses play a vital role in our global economy. And while many go through several gradual stages of development, once in a while, a small business defies the usual trajectory and starts experiencing rapid growth.
While scaling quickly is a path that most small businesses aim for at their inception, unfortunately, not every organization can handle it. Rapid growth is an exciting time for any company, but it also comes with significant changes that can be difficult to adapt to. Demand spikes can put unprecedented pressure on your teams and resources, and come with an influx of other challenges that need to be handled with care.
Below, we’ll address some crucial steps that business owners can take to manage rapid growth in their organizations and sustain it.
1. Determine the Cause of the Growth
When organizations experience rapid growth, one of the first steps to take is successfully identifying what has caused it. To do this effectively, businesses should take a look at a variety of variables, including:
- Significant spikes or decreases in inventory movement
- Changes to business assets
- Payable and receivable activities, and
- Revenue streams
Working closely with your accounting teams can help you better understand when and where you see revenue increases. Get a clear picture of your revenue streams, overhead expenses, and gross profit. Once you have a clear picture of your monthly and yearly financial positions, you can have a better understanding of how that growth will affect different elements of your business. This also allows you to plan out your finances long-term and ensure you have enough funds for operations and contingencies.
Of course, if your small business is undergoing rapid growth, it’s definitely on the right track. However, it’s vital to determine what led you here and why you’ve been doing better than your competitors. It’s crucial to capitalize on this aspect and focus on it since many businesses often lose sight of what they did well in the first place.
2. Prioritize the Customer Experience
It’s imperative to remember that your customers play a significant part in your business’s success, and they should be given the attention they deserve. Organizations should work to develop a personalized and engaging customer support portal that can be used to build and maintain positive customer experiences. Hence, it’s vital to take advantage of social media platforms and other public forums to allow your customers to have a more personalized relationship with your business.
In many cases, your customers can dictate best what your business should do next. Just remember, that one bad experience quickly trumps many great experiences, so each decision should be made with care. It doesn’t matter how far along you are in your business growth journey; catering to your customers’ needs should be one of your top priorities. To extract this information from your customers, you should provide them with a platform where they can voice those needs.
3. Select Your Team Carefully
Rapid growth periods are the best times for you to take progressive steps and determine whether your current staff can meet new demands or share responsibilities with others. This is especially the case when identifying new process requirements for managing your inventory needs and preventing errors, improving your sales reporting, and growing business partnerships. Some of the ways businesses can approach their hiring process are:
- Audit current systems and processes
- Identify critical inefficiencies
- Build a priority list of role responsibilities
- Establish a hiring budget, and
- Utilize a third party to assist with sourcing a larger talent pool
Organizations should take the time to carefully identify the immediate needs of their business and hire qualified talent to fill those gaps. However, there can be specific challenges to overcome when bringing on new staff members. Some hiring managers may be intimidated by hiring someone more skilled than they are at a particular job. Business should focus on bringing in new talent to the organization that brings innovative ideas to the front and can help you implement them.
Apart from this, organizations can take advantage of the growing gig economy and hire freelance workers instead of salaried employees. This can help you free up more time for tasks that demand your immediate attention and significantly reduce overhead expenses. Your employees are the heart of your business, and your hiring processes can potentially determine how your company will fare in the future. Regardless of how great your product or service is, however, without the right team working in the background, your business cannot succeed.
4. Be Open to Change
Organizations shouldn’t be afraid to address new business challenges that arise due to scaling infrastructures and larger teams. Change, in all its forms, should be welcomed whenever possible, and organizations should encourage their employees to do the same. This will play an essential role in keeping your team motivated while building a positive business culture.
Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of the ability to handle changing trends. Your business needs to be dynamic enough to test out various strategies and adapt, making it equipped to handle any kind of growth in the future.
5. Network with Other Entrepreneurs
Being at the forefront of a company experiencing rapid growth doesn’t mean you’ll need to handle everything yourself. It’s essential to seek advice and help from someone who’s also experienced the same kind of growth. Putting your ego aside, and getting guidance from others can help you better manage stress and be prepared for other challenges as they arise.
Other entrepreneurs who’ve also experienced rapid growth in their organization can help you through situations they’ve already experienced. They can also let you know what areas of your business may potentially experience problems now or in the future.
Experiencing rapid growth in an organization can be an exciting yet challenging time for any business. However, when managed and handled correctly, it’s a time where you can successfully take your company to the next level. By being prepared for what’s coming, both mentally and financially, your small business will handle rapid growth with ease.
Bio: Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, marketing strategies, and HR solutions. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach