For many small businesses, the biggest obstacle to growth isn’t poor sales, financing or the competition; it’s often the business itself. So, if you find yourself organizationally unprepared to grow, what can you do about it? Here are some strategies that can help you break through common barriers to growth many small businesses experience.
Before you embark on any growth strategy, take a look at some key business indicators to help you decide whether you are actually ready to grow. Are you successful in a strong market and want to open a new location? Are you about to win a big sales deal? Is your sales pipeline full? Are new products developing into successful sales and opening the door to new opportunities? These are all important milestones that will provide new growth and should be constantly monitored to ensure prepared for that growth. Study your pipeline and market trends every day.
Always keep your company’s growth as your main goal, but keep a close eye on your competition. Where does your competition sit in the marketplace relative to your business? How does your business/product/service compare with theirs? Why would a customer buy from you and not them? The answers to these questions will help you see your strengths, take advantage of market opportunities and implement a plan to compete in areas that you’re not so strong in now.
Always be looking for talented employees and be constantly assessing your risk. Creating the environment for new growth has to involve great employees. Even if you can’t afford to hire right now, keep looking for talent and bring them on part-time or on a contract or hourly basis. Try your best to see the future — what events could occur that might endanger your growth plans? These could be supply chain issues, hiring and training problems, competitive activity, cash flow, or legal problems. One thing being a manager or business owner teaches us all is that we must always anticipate and manage risk.
One thing is for sure: You must never embark on a growth strategy without a plan. Having a strategic plan that contains your company’s market analysis and informs you of where you are, and where you want to be, will allow you to plan out the tactics for using your business resources to attain your goals.