Growing a Business
Creating a clockwork like business to grow
The Growth and Expansion Challenge
Growing a business has its own unique set of challenges, some of which are outlined below. For many business owners some of these challengers will require further understanding and support. This is where the Adelaide Hills Business Centre can assist through its advisory services, online resources and "The Essential" program.
If you are looking at growing your business, please take a moment to read the following and note areas that you may require further assistance or investigation.
Plans and Budgets
To grow a business it needs a plan and financial security. The plan needs to be a concise document that can be communicated and implemented throughout the business. The plan should have a clear vision and direction of what is to be achieved, how, when, where and why. Plans are based on current knowledge and understanding around customers needs, the industry, emerging trends and potential disruptors, competitors, technology and so forth. From such knowledge a number of actions are scheduled with expected investment levels and outcomes. A budget helps to monitor progress, measure change and to maintain financial security. Businesses that don't have a plan normally experience negative or slow and costly growth.
Creating a business plan is not a difficult task nor is it time-consuming. The simply process of creating a plan will drive change through a nexus of ideas and information. The real strength of a business plan is the ability to measure change and to review regularly to meet the challenges of external influences.
A business plan is underpinned by business systems and communication structures as outline below.
Systems and Processes (Operational)
As a business grows the ability for the owners to oversee every aspect becomes further diluted. Where systems or processes are NOT put in place and audited, many businesses end up going through a boom and bust cycle. Systems and processes provide a business wide focus around a common purpose (Vision), a systematic approach to each business function along with a communication structure for what we called the RAA (Responsibility, Accountability and Authority).
The benefits include improved efficiency, consistent and predictable outcomes, increased staff morale, better customer service, rapid training of new staff, scalability (Growth / Reproducing), higher profits and reduced risk.
One of the best ways to create a business system is by using staff to identify business functions along with the RAA and checks and measures. In doing so, the system will work and support the team while having ownership.
In today's world of business, keeping up with technology can make a big difference when it comes to minimising cost and reducing errors along with duplication. Besides internal task, technology also plays a vital role in connecting and engaging with customers and identifying emerging trends. One of the biggest advancements for businesses is online technology whereby data can be exchanged and updated automatically from one system to another without costly technical support and know how. Emerging technologies are making it faster and less costly to collect real time data from remote locations like never before. This is providing new and existing businesses with new opportunities to create a point of difference around products and services.
For businesses not seeking out and implementing new technologies will rapidly find competitors out performing them and acquiring their customers.
It's an area where no business should underestimate the impact of change.
People & Leadership
Growing and sustaining a successful business comes down to the right people in the right roles at the right time. If your team are matched with the business Vision and objectives this will greatly improve the chances of success. It also comes down to good leadership and management whereby everyone is working towards the same Vision without exception.
The wrong people and poor leadership can certainly prevent a business moving forward. When it comes to the right people, it's more than a skill set. Consider people's work ethics and attitudes. A person that is organised and determined to succeed are ideal team players as they find solutions and deliver results. It's about the person and not just about the qualifications or piece of paper.
Customers are people that have feelings, needs and have the ability to freely make a choice. To grow a business, more customers and / or customers with a higher spend capability will be required. However, if a business doesn't understand their customer's needs they are at risk of alienating them. A growing business needs to understand the importance of customers and treat them as real people with needs. Businesses that sustain growth actively look at ways to exceed customers expectations. For example being accessible, contacting them about recent services, taking on feedback and following up, share helpful information freely, even being on time and delivering on promises can exceed many customers expectations.
Orchestrating word of mouth and referrals is a great way to grow a loyal customer base. Sharing information that your customers may not know is a great way to connect and be referred. Eg. Video, social media, email updates, special events, Blogs etc.
For a business to grow, it needs to have in place an accurate and easy to use financial system along with a management team that understands financial reports. Finance impacts on almost every aspect of doing business and provides information on performance (Profitability) and stability (Equity).
Financial management helps the business owners and management team to be aware of what accounts are profitable and not. The same for products and services by knowing the real cost and profitability.
Businesses taking on a rapid growth strategy without a sound financial system in place can find themselves going under before it's realised.
Cost controls should exist and be used to ensure that work is completed within work loading, budgeting and costing parameters. All financial aspects should be documented along with a well-documented payroll system. The business should have a handle on weekly hours, including hours of billing versus hours on payroll.
To help you address many of these areas, "The Essentials" have been created for you and your team to build a stronger and more sustainable business.
Looking at expanding and / or considering employing for the first time?
Maxima may have the ideal solution for you and your business. Your full time or part-time job is someone's opportunity to access work, gain new skills and inclusion. Maxima works with everyday people actively seeking employment and for a range of reasons Eg. youth, age, Indigenous, workplace injury or some level of disability that find employment opportunities limited.
Depending on your requirements, Maxima will seek out suitable and active job seekers for your business.
Depending on the employment term, your business may receive an initial and ongoing financial offset.
It's a great way to ease your business to a new level and gain the knowledge around being a real boss.
Contact Bronwen Harris - Business Development Consultant on 1300 629 462 to learn more.
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