Managing growth is one of the trickiest parts of a leading a business. Expansion can be the best thing that can happen, or it can be the absolute worst if you’re not prepared.
The key to successful growth is constant vigilance and commitment to quality and consistency. It’s important to have a plan in place when your business is small, so that when growth happens, you’re ready for it.
Here are six tips on how to manage business growth.
- Keep your eyes on the data. You know how great it feels when business is booming. Customers are streaming in. Products and services are in demand. Everything is going great, by the looks of it. No matter how busy your business is, it’s imperative that you are constantly looking at your numbers. Where do you stand financially? Are you keeping within your budget? Are your expenses too high? What’s your projection for next month? Next year? Don’t rest on your laurels and get swept away in the moment. Keep tabs on your books, because numbers don’t lie. If something looks wrong, there’s a reason. Take the time to fix it.
- Make smart hires. If your business is in growth mode, it’s easy to lose sight of your core hiring values and hire too quickly. While that will, no doubt, land you an employee, it likely won’t be the right employee. Before making a hire, talk to your team about what kinds of characteristics will best fit your business’ growing needs. From there, be sure and hire the right person, not just the right skill set.
- Keep doing what you’re doing. This is not the time to make any drastic changes, whether it’s altering the direction of the company or cutting the marketing budget. Rather, pat yourself on the back, because if you’re growing, you’re doing something right. And then quickly get back to work.
- Outsource what you can. Accept that you can’t be all things to all people. Do what you’re good at and find experts to handle the rest. Thanks to technology, even small businesses can afford to outsource human resources, accounting, IT, marketing and other tasks to subcontractors. That frees the business leaders up to focus on growth.
- Continue educating yourself. Make lifelong learning a part of your business goals. Attend conferences, seminars and classes and find other opportunities that will inform you—and your staff—about different aspects of business. By attending educational events and networking with others in the community, you’ll learn from their successes and missteps. As a business owner, it’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day tasks and neglect the big picture. In doing so, you’re limiting your own personal and professional growth.
- Keep your customers happy. Whether you’re in a business to business operation or a business to consumer outfit, the end goal should be the same: happy customers. Keep the lines of communication open and ask your customers how you’re doing and how you can improve. When all is said and done, it’s their business that your growth depends on.
Wade Brannon is president of Pigtails & Crewcuts. Brannon has managed business growth for more than three decades, first in the specialty food franchising business, growing a franchise called Heavenly Ham to more than 230 stores across the country, before it sold to HoneyBaked Ham. As the head of Pigtails & Crewcuts, he’s led the business from a single salon to nearly 50 locations across the country.