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Business Growth Pains

PortfolioExec recently held a forum of business owners who were looking at business growth pains. Here are some of the key elements that came out of that discussion.

Where is the growth coming from? – new business or organic, a mix, a marketing push, a particular source? Is it seasonal, or timebound? You need to understand how and why this growth is happening and if it is short or medium term.

Where are the pressure points in the business? – Why those pinch points?

How are you resourced to deal with this growth? Again, where are the pressure points? Cash, staff, premises, IT, supply chain, etc?

Communication – Internal – advise the staff what is happening, what you are doing, consider a one-off bonus and recognise the extra effort.

External – Manage expectations; if the usual service standards are going to be a bit longer than usual, tell the customer up front.

Where can operational efficiencies be made? Can IT help? Is there duplication, can you open more hours, work weekends, change shift patterns?

What can you outsource ? Can you use agency staff?

Increase your fees!

Review your customers: who are the profitable ones, can you cull some? Which customers steal your time; are they the profitable ones? Don’t be afraid to say No.

Are your terms of business still fit for purpose?

Review your own role as a leader, your own time management and planning. A simple effectiveness tool to try after every engagement is a Value Impact Assessment:

V – Value: what was the value of that engagement?

I – Impact: How has it made me feel: energised, deflated, etc?

A – Application: What actions do I need to take, e.g. not see them again, do it online, etc?

Do you need to delegate more?

Recruitment – recruit ahead of time, always be looking for good staff.

New business opportunities – can be great but also a huge distraction. Don’t forget the core business. Ring-fence any new large venture.

Insurances – review them; have they kept up with the growth or are you underinsured?

A good read on this subject is “The Making of a Corporate Athlete” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

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