By Abe Oluwasegun
Every small business desires to see its values and operations experience exponential growth. Growth for any small business will include increase in sales and turnover, improved market penetration, increase in number of outlets, increase in customer base/reach, improved visibility.
While business growth is desirable, it must be noted that such growth comes with a unique set of challenges. Take for an instance a small business that has begun to establish more retail outlets, across several markets. Such a strategy will require the deployment and coordination of infrastructure to the new outlets such as custom office furniture, machinery and equipment as well as other inputs.
In addition, the small business must also make adequate provisions for the supply of raw materials and other necessary materials.
A number of factors can cause a small business to grow while stalling in its momentum and keep it from seizing opportunities. These factors include a lack of operational and strategic efficiency, a dearth of requisite manpower as well as a disregard for future planning and forecasting.
Therefore, if a small business desires to manage its growth and yet keep the momentum of its business operations going, the following tips can be implemented:
- Keep the Customer in View
Any expansionary drive by the small business must take into consideration the demands and expectations of the consumer. The dynamics of the consumer and the market place must influence any strategy that wants to increase the capacity and means of meeting and exceeding consumer expectations.
If a potential strategy-introducing a new product- does not take into account customer feedback as to product specifications and types, even if the product introduction enjoys immediate gains, the long term outlook for the small business will be bleak.
- Retain and Engage Competent Manpower
Managing business growth and maintaining business momentum will require the contributions of key members of staff. Business is about people and people also covers employees. During growth, a business needs to ensure that its talent pool is well placed structurally to handle expansion of the business and to remain focused on the demands of the customer.
In maintaining momentum during business growth, the business should assess its talent pool, in order to determine if its employees are correctly interpreting its core values in operations. Can members of your staff spot and utilize the opportunities that accompany growth?
Answers to these questions will go a long way in helping the business manage growth while maintaining its momentum.
- Sharpen Operational Structure and Efficiency
Business growth and momentum are predicated on what structures the business uses as a model for operation.
Efficiency brings down cost, as the workplace culture and mindset causes management and employees to look for ways to streamline operational expenses, reduce overhead costs as well as effectively utilize opportunities that are identified.
Operational strategy ensures that all activities in the business are aligned to ensure that whatever growth the business experiences, is matched by a sustained momentum.
- Sourcing the Right Market/Clients
Achieving growth while sustaining momentum is also predicated on seeking the appropriate market/client for the product or service being rendered. For example, if a part of the business growth strategy is generating more sales, it is imperative that the business engages with customers whose needs will be continuous over the long term.
Anything short of this will mean sales revenue will be stunted over the course of time. Sourcing the right clientele will lower the costs of acquisition, ensure that business/customer relationships are mutually satisfactory and that goals can be met within reasonable costs and time frame.
- Taking Sound Business Decisions
Achieving business growth while managing to maintain momentum is also dependent on what decisions are to be made, when they are to be made as well as a careful analysis of the opportunity costs that may arise from making such decisions.
More often than not, business expansion and growth may be fraught with problems and challenges. These constraints will require taking certain decisions to finding solutions or mitigating the situation.
An attractive attribute of the set-up of any business is having the capacity to be proactive, rather than being reactive to issues and challenges. Once a business has established such a capacity to employ standard protocols and processes to not only respond to contingencies but also to anticipate them; the business can then adequately sustain growth while maintaining operating and marketing momentum.
- Embrace Change
Business growth is predicated on pre-planned strategy and detailing. In embracing the mind set of being proactive, it is important that adequate provision is made for unforeseen circumstances. In order to sustain the resulting momentum, the business must embrace changes along the way.
It could be in the form of an unexpected upsurge in customer requests, the need for more equipment or the engagement of more employees. Whatever the situation, it is necessary for the business to make the needed adjustments.