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27 December 2018

The growing pains of a small business

Growing a small business isn’t an easy task. But, learning how to grow your business isn’t just a notable goal, it’s often a necessity for your business’s survival and economic well-being. Almost all companies strive for growth, regardless of size. Small companies want to get big, and big companies want to get bigger. In reality, all companies have to grow at least a little every year to keep up with increased expenses that occur over time.

 

Growing from a start-up to a small company to a middle size organization requires businesses to adjust to growing needs and implement new strategies and tasks. Let’s look at the key factors of growing a business.

 

Understanding your customers

 

The customer is at the heart and soul of any successful organization. Understanding the customer needs and developing products and services that meet those needs is the key to success. As a start-up company, your focus should be on building good relationships with your customers and gaining insights by encouraging them to provide valuable feedback.

 

As your business grows, you should never lose sight of the customer. In modern business, customer success stories are gold. While traditional organizations are focused on sales, modern, SAAS-based businesses see the importance of shorter-term contracts and faster renewals. In other words, it’s more about keeping existing customers rather than finding new ones. 

 

Knowing what makes people renew is at the core of success. This is commonly known as the customer success story. When trying to grow from a small to medium-sized business, you shouldn’t just explore the factors that close a deal but focus on the areas that make your customers experience successful and keep them coming back for more.

 

Employees

 

When you start a business it’s likely just you and maybe one or two other founders. In the beginning, you should essentially just keep a good relationship with your customer, while doing a brilliant job at what you do. But, as your business grows, you will need to employ people to help you out. You might want to do everything yourself, but in reality, this can do more harm than good to your business. Building an adequate and capable team is essential to growing your organization.

 

Of course, hiring employees leads to a whole other set of tasks and responsibilities - you will need to manage these employees. One of the best ways to ensure motivated employees who work hard is to give them a sense of purpose. Often, finding intelligent and talented employees isn’t a problem but making them stay is a challenging task.

 

Implementing things such as a paid vacation policy, training and development programmes, as well as employee recognition and reward programmes can go a long way in retaining valuable employees.

 

Another important task that comes with hiring employees is implementing a performance review process. Performance reviews measure an employee's performance and ultimately the projected success of a company. When you first start out and have only one or two employees, the performance review will probably be very informal - a brief discussion over coffee or a pint. You are likely in constant contact with your employees and talk daily anyway. However, as you continue to grow and your team consists of five or more people, you will be preoccupied with other tasks, and communication tends to become less frequent and less personal. At this stage, you will need to implement a formal performance review process.

 

Creating an employee handbook

 

The majority of start-ups and small businesses don’t pay attention to HR, but the fact is, Human Resource Management can take your business to new heights. In a start-up business, as mentioned above, communication is flowing, and you should have a very personal relationship with those who work for you. However, as your business and team grow, it’s necessary to implement rules and regulations for employees. Employee handbooks serve as a blueprint for building an enduring workforce and is the best way to ensure that your employees are fully informed about what is expected from them.

 

Here are some of the important points to include in an employee handbook:

 

  • Code of conduct
  • Benefits; health insurance, paid vacation, worker’s compensation
  • The organization's policies and protocol
  • Termination and retirement policy
  • Policy regarding salary increases and disciplinary procedures

 

The lowdown on growing a business

 

Small business owners who are looking to grow their business - whether it’s dramatic or incremental growth - must be prepared to deal with the upside and downside of growth. When the business is small, you will find it easy to direct and monitor the various aspects of daily business. In these environments, as the business owner, you will have a good relationship and open communication with employees, customer, and suppliers. However, organizational growth means that you will be less “hands-on” and need to entrust various tasks in those who work for you. As small businesses grow, so do the complexities of managing the organization. But if handled correctly, these complexities can be reduced by delegating responsibility to your team.


Posted by: Edit Ford

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