We know your main goal as a business owner: achieve sustainable growth. But sometimes things take unexpected turns. For example, you may face a certain paradox that has been plaguing the modern business world for quite a while. Your business grows explosively – and then crashes and burns just as rapidly. Why? Because if you aren’t properly prepared to support that growth, it can be a nightmare situation. First, you start your company. You start taking on more responsibilities, thinking you can handle them with ease. You begin signing more lucrative contracts and everything seems to be blossoming. Orders are growing and you feel like you are on top of the world!
But then reality sets in. You’re overextended and overcommitted, understaffed and understocked. If you are a rookie leader, there are a ton of things you haven’t considered yet, and relaxing is unfortunately not an option. You should be thinking about managing cash flow, creating efficient procedures, planning for growth, and handling important data properly. If your business is growing too fast, you will face certain problems. So as a future leader, what are the most important steps you need to take, in order to gain momentum and use it to your advantage?
You as a leader
As a business owner need, try to think a step ahead of each operation. Adjust to your new and different role as a leader. Accept that you will make mistakes and learn a lot. Look to leaders in your industry and mentors you have to guide you as you approach new steps in your business. It is important to be realistic about your company and it’s onset. Ask first: do you have enough capital for starters? Payroll, supplies, bills, inventory – these are the bare minimum expenses to be covered, no matter what. Next, it’s time to consider if your business expanding too fast: Is your inventory keeping up with the pace? Are your products or services efficient and meet customers’ expectations? Do you have consistent cash flow? Are you hiring too fast? Can you handle all the data and documents that are constantly growing day by the day? Some of the biggest mistakes are made in business because the right questions are not being asked at the right time. Timing is everything so take advantage of your fresh start.
Proper growth strategy
We assume that when you started your business, you also had a concrete plan for short-term and long-term goals. If this is not the case, and growth actually came as a pleasant surprise to you, that might be bad news. Growth strategy and strategically planned steps are recommended methods for business because they work. Remember that the goal is sustainable growth. First, do a complete analysis of your sales, overhead, receivables, inventory, and assets. If you have an issue, like inventory and capital assets absorbing too much of your cash flow, make a plan to regain control over it. After you’ve assessed everything internally, analyze important external factors, like the current situation on the market, competition, and your target audience. After you have all the data gathered, set long-term and short-term goals. Remember the old Benjamin Franklin adage, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Data is the future – use it wisely
Data flow is something that all businesses, small and large, find very challenging. There are a few obvious issues with proper handling of sensitive data. Data storing can become a major problem as your business grows. With businesses turning to cloud storage and other sharing platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud-based solutions, data leaks are an increasing concern.
Not only do data leaks seem eventual, but there is also a concern about who should manage this vast data. In a worst-case scenario, valuable data can be exposed or lost and you can lose the momentum of your growth. In order to take firm steps away from data mismanagement, estimate your true need for data storage. After that’s been decided, think about content management within your company and distribute content management leadership roles. Determine which data will be available for public use and which documents are classified. One of the biggest mistakes in new businesses is exposing data to third parties by accident or by losing control over important documents. Automatic redaction software could help in situations like this – it can protect every type of sensitive data your company has collected from every kind of breach.
Remember to use data to your company’s advantage. Learn to distinguish the important data from the fluff. This could help you with predicting the best outcomes for you and your business.
In order to control your costs better, it’s important to stay vigilant about hard expenses. For example, instead of buying equipment for your office, consider renting it. In doing so, you will ensure that everything looks and works wonderfully. This also applies to office space, because the shared “community” office is a popular option now in workplaces. Also, perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing talents. Team communication is important – encourage communication among your staff to work as a cohesive cohort and to avoid phantom workflow.
Set your expectations realistically and set rules that are clearly communicated and enforced. We mean that for both your employees and your clients. Do research on your clients and their credit history to set a strict schedule for payment methods. Learn to choose your battles and don’t accept every account or business opportunity, solely for the sake of rapid growth. It is great to be an optimist who shoots for the moon, but it can often backfire. Most importantly, monitor everything and commit to consistent reporting. Having all aspects covered will bring you that sustainable growth you want to see, not just the one-time explosion that will slowly fade away.