If you are gearing up for business expansion, you should answer these questions first…
Growing a business is hard, and near impossible if your foundations aren’t strong. Any attempt to break through to the next will level will be tested against the pressures of an ever-changing marketplace and fickle consumer demand. And, challenges can appear as if out of nowhere along the way.
The business environment and your company culture are factors that can cause you to stumble along the way. If people are not aligned around a common set of values, they may very well not pull in the direction you want them to. And, remember growth is not all about the money; if you lack purpose and vision it will be very difficult to achieve sustainable growth.
Remember too that your business will not move unless the people in your business move. So if your team is incapable of growing as individuals and as leaders, you will find it hard to grow the business.
TEST THOSE FOUNDATIONS
The only way to prepare your business for the challenges of expansion is to test its foundations before you start to scale. Here are some key questions to ask:
- What were the key learnings from past growth periods of the business?
- What are the key learnings from any failures and what counter-measures can you build into your strategy to avoid those failures from repeating themselves?
- What key business metrics that reveal past performance can you study to ensure that you fully understand the trends of the business as well as the external forces that impact the business?
The way things are
- How does your current state compare to the past in terms of performance and key business metrics?
- Do you have enough strong leaders in key positions as enablers towards expansion?
- Can you provide sufficient financial and operational support to ensure successful expansion?
The ideal destination
- Do you have buy-in from the majority of your workforce in relation to actualising your future company vision, purpose and goals?
- Are you empowering your team in order to be able to meet the demands that your future goals place on your workforce?
- Do you have a business culture that is flexible enough to embrace useful change and positive enough to overcome the natural obstacles that will occur as you embark on your expansion plan?
Honest and truthful reflection and some sound research will reveal if your business has a foundation strong enough to support exponential growth and expansion. If the answer is “no”, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and focus on key areas of the business before expanding. As you gear up, stay relevant through research, development and training. Use your resources to develop leaders who can embrace useful change, whose behaviour is aligned to the vision of the company, and who are keen and high-quality problem solvers. Having the right people on board is a key driver towards successful expansion.
In the October/November issue, we explore The Dangers of growing too fast.
Dirk Coetsee is a business leadership coach for start-ups and established entrepreneurs. He is also a qualified Master Life coach and assists individuals to get “unstuck” in their lives and careers.