The best part of my job is helping businesses grow. To see ideas put into action and the calculated risks and sleepless nights paying off – there is nothing quite like it! But it is definitely not plain sailing, and even the best business idea in the world will need the right approach to deliver business growth. I’ve worked with many high growth businesses over the years and some things stand out that they all do well.
Know why you want to grow
There is no point growing just for the sake of it. A starting point should always be why does the business actually want to grow? What are the owner’s / owners’ objectives? Is growth necessary? This should be the basis of a clear and focussed business plan.
Make time for business growth
Management time is a key challenge. Business owners and managers need to create time to look at growth opportunities away from the pressure of the day-to-day business. This might mean outsourcing some of your workload, or employing someone to take on the ‘business-as-usual’ work.
Get the right structure
A growing business needs to have the right structure to make it suitable for funding. The right structure will help to protect the owners and managers too. It needs to allow management control without deadlock or too much bureaucracy, while being flexible enough to achieve funding, whether that is debt or equity funding.
This is crucial. Businesses need to be sufficiently flexible to be able to take opportunities when they arise. Flexibility and adaptability should be the mindset of the business and are needed for constant improvement and development in process as well as growth. Growth does not always have to be quick, but can be organic and the right structure needs to be in place to allow change to adapt to changing markets.
Engage the management team
A recipe for failure is a disengaged management team that is not aligned to the interests of the owner/s of the business. Your management team needs to understand what the business wants to achieve and why. Incentives may also be useful, such as share options.
Growth does bring risk and it is important to manage this. This may include long-term agreements, property arrangements, employment contracts and standard documentation to simplify processes.
Build your team
Surround yourself with a team of advisors who are experts at what they do, and crucially, make sure they are people who will work well together as a team and have your best interests at heart. Having a bank, lawyer and accountant who get on and work together to solve problems will make your life so much easier.