It is not easy to manage business growth. In certain cases, growth is what leads to the demise of a business. The majority of entrepreneurs have a desire to grow their businesses. Businesses grow by having better market penetration, developing new products for existing or new markets, or expanding their current reach. As the business makes progress on its growth trajectory, revenues go up and there is increased business activity. The number of customers grows, the staff numbers go up, and the geographical reach too may rise. Overall, if the business grows, it will probably make more profit and become more appealing to investors. That is every entrepreneur’s dream.
Growth presents entrepreneurs with a myriad of challenges. I find the challenges around people and customers to be very common. For many entrepreneurs, finding, training, and retaining the right talent is a challenge. Most entrepreneurs operate with a small team throughout the early stages of their business. However, as the number of customers increases, more employees are required. The growth of customers might lead to cash flow issues as account receivables rise and credit control becomes more difficult. This depends on the business model in place. Other challenges revolve around regulatory compliance, the arrival of competitor businesses, supplier management, and the inability to establish organizational competencies. As a result, I find that many entrepreneurs in our marketplace require the assistance of business mentors and advisors to effectively deal with the challenges.
As their businesses grow, most entrepreneurs I interact with appear to require assistance in practically every aspect. They require assistance with redefining their value proposition and strategic direction, choosing between financing options, product development, inventory management, team leadership, marketing, sales management, compliance and legal, customer management, automation, and nearly every other facet of their business. It is no surprise that some business financiers provide not just cash but also technical assistance to enterprises in the early and growth stages. In recent years, it has become clear that banks, for example, are making significant investments in assisting their business customers beyond lending. They want their customers to succeed. In addition, venture capital firms frequently intervene to provide business advisory services to the investee businesses. Unfortunately, many bootstrapping entrepreneurs and those who finance their businesses from family and friends frequently do not have the opportunity to receive additional advice on how to run their businesses effectively.
Every entrepreneur must be aware when additional assistance is needed in order to successfully manage growth. It is critical to get the business off to a good start in terms of culture, financial management, and compliance. If you are an entrepreneur, it is critical to assess your current challenges and take some action. Some of the actions may necessitate seeking outside assistance to properly address the challenges being faced. For example, one may need a human resources practitioner to streamline the people aspect. If you are a business and some of your customers are smaller businesses in their early stage, it will benefit them significantly if you try to learn more about them and offer them technical support. Many businesses at the growth stage continue to die because their founders have had some blind spots and either do not seek help or wait until it is too late. If you need help to manage your business growth, get it now!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy