How to sustainably grow your business

When we work with organisations, we help or support them with their growth plans. Perhaps they are growing their product offering and need help with training, or they are growing their team and need help with onboarding or reaching and connecting with everyone. Growth is essential for every successful business but the key is to have sustainable growth. Below we share with you a few tips to ensure success:

Do some digging on yourself

This one might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many large companies don’t properly analyse themselves before they start growing. To do this you should:

  • Look at the resources which currently support your organisation. Are they working? what’s working and what is not working? Are any causing greater loss than profit?
  • Understand exactly what it is that you need to support your growth. Perhaps you notice a pattern of employees leaving in the trial period. This indicates that you need a better onboarding experience.
  • Make sure all of your books are up to date so you can analyse your revenue and expenditure trends to allow you to predict and plan your growth.
  • Look at roles within your business. A lot of the time tasks can be automated, which saves staff time and resources allowing you to grow a lot faster. Virgin Media’s paper checklists used to take them 4 hours. Our app took the process down to an average of 45 minutes.

Make sure you have the correct resources and plans in place

Growing is great, but it is a nightmare if you haven’t properly prepared with the right resources and plans. You should be looking at:

  • How your growing team will communicate and work effectively together, especially if they are in different departments. Say, for example, you hire a new team that looks after customer complaints, but you haven’t set up a formal process, such as a ticketing system or action lists, for how they will work with your sales teams on the shop floor. This will lead to a lot of work not being done, and information falling through the gaps due to requests and tasks not being tracked properly.
  • Look at how your growing teams are going to learn efficiently and effectively. You will fall flat if you have a team that isn’t continuously learning. Perhaps you are hiring young people for your sales teams but your current way of learning is lengthy, outdated and uninteresting. You may need to look at gamification solutions to keep your staff engaged with learning every day.
  • How are you going to create and support increases in sales to sustain your growth? Perhaps you need to change your incentives or bonus schemes or look at hiring more experienced sales teams? Or maybe you need to do more effective training. Companies that offer comprehensive training have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalised training, according to the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Those companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than companies who spend less on training.  Virgin Media saw a 13% increase in sales in just 6 months after deploying Oplift as a training tool.

Don’t go crazy on new hires

Some companies go overboard on new hires when they start to make a lot of extra revenue, but this is a costly mistake. Preparing for growth is essential, but strategic preparation requires you to hire intelligently and not get carried away. You should look at your financial forecast and any trends or patterns which you see in your revenue, then work out when it would make the most sense to hire new people. Ideally, you should hire new recruits slowly rather than going on a massive recruitment drive.

Look at your existing finances

Assess if you have any cash flow issues. The most common causes for poor cash flow are:

  • Not having a strong enough or well thought out business plan
  • Forgetting items when setting expenditure forecasts for the year
  • Being overly optimistic about sales, costs and general productivity

If you are having a tough time converting revenue into profits, or it is a struggle to pay employees, then it is best to focus on these issues before you look to grow with new products, solutions or employees. The faster you grow the more cash you need to support your business, so if you have any existing cashflow problems it is a bad idea to continue a massive growth drive.

Look wisely at new digital solutions on the market

Look at your current operating systems and ones which you may need to reach your goals in the future. Keep in mind any systems that may need to link up and work in sync with one another, e.g. compliance, learning management, warehouse management, and workforce management. Do you have any old legacy systems which are going to prevent growth or create blocks in the communication of work?

Other posts that may be of interest to you: 

Are you giving your employees useful information or information overload

How to tell if your employees are NOT developing at work

Are terrible processes at work ruining your success?

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 14th January 2019