Of course all of us that start a business have growth in mind. But expanding too quickly can cause serious growing pains. Even relatively straight forward changes can have devastating consequences, whether it is adding staff, increasing production, expanding services or extending product lines. Every stage of growth in any business takes a bit of good faith, but there are some very sure and reliable indicators that you may be ready to scale up.
1. Surround yourself with the right staff
It is important to have a properly trained team who are invested in the company’s success. Of course without great leadership even the greatest idea will struggle to prosper, but with an amazing team, even small ideas can turn into something special.
2. Word of mouth
When you start fielding calls from referrals it is usually a good indication that your brand is reaching a level of awareness that positions you for growth. Each additional client can be a catalyst for growth, even if you are initially reluctant to diversify or expand beyond a particular region.
3. A spoonful of realism
You have to be discriminating in terms of what growth you can handle. You need to look at the economic benefits and consider your existing infrastructure and resources, sometimes saying no is actually a great growth strategy.
4. Sharpen the sword (thanks Stephen Covey)
Even if there are plenty of indications that your business is ready to expand, successful growth can be very tough. Make sure you are ready personally for the increased commitment. Expansion can affect not only your business but also your personal life, your family and even your health.
5. Cash flow is king
It typically takes at least six months to see a return on capital investments made to expand a business. Growth costs money, and a lot of people forget that, always budget for the worst possible scenario.
6. Meet your own goals
Proving to yourself and others that you can meet defined objectives strengthens internal and external confidence in your company’s ability to expand.
And as always, I leave you with one of my favourite quotes:
“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”
— Thomas Watson, Sr., former CEO, IBM