2 March 2017

5 tips to optimise the growth of your business

To grow or not to grow? The question all entrepreneurs ask themselves sooner or later. Are you ready to take the step?

Acquiring new markets, attracting more customers, diversifying your products or services, recruiting more staff... You dream of seeing your business expand. Yet an expansion stage requires at least as much consideration as setting up your business. Even if growth is generally perceived as a “positive” step, the decision to grow is not without risk. It assumes a thorough analysis of your company, your field of business as well as the general environment. An analysis which will offer you the tools to grow well...

The growth paradox

The bigger, the more complex. And the more complex, the more malfunctions! This is likely to happen within your expanding business. And the subsequent problems can be substantial, to the extent that they might jeopardise your growth.

This is what Chris Zook, a strategic consultant with Bain & Company, called the “growth paradox"’ in an article published on the website of Harvard Business Review.

His survey shows that 88% of executives polled consider that the greatest obstacles to growth are internal. And a forewarned manager is fore-armed: if you want to grow, introspection is in your best interest. Focus, notably, on the following issues.

1. Monitor your response speed and your business’s flexibility

Size necessarily impacts negatively on your ability to respond. You must take this reality into account when growing, at the risk of losing competitiveness and market efficiency.

Better internal organisation can be the solution Fewer, but more productive, meetings, as suggested for instance by Chris Zook. Plan fixed meetings with precise aims: Monday mornings to take strategic decisions, Tuesdays for follow-up and removing obstacles, etc.

2. Continue to value staff performance

With a start-up everything is easy: you perform, you evolve. Meritocracy! As you grow, everything becomes more formal, less transparent. The risk is that your staff will become less motivated. Make sure you keep clear objectives, use simple communication and - especially - maintain performance as the core of your system of values.

3. Manage time, as well as your money

A non-productive meeting? That means time which is not allocated to managing your customers. Logically, in a big organisation, everything tends to slow down. It is all a matter of priorities. As Chris Zook suggests, enquire about the time allocated to your biggest customers, to your top staff or even to working on your main challenges. Then focus on those elements.

4. Simplify decision-making

Growth also complicates decision-making, increasing the number of decision-makers. Excessive bureaucracy which can be fatal. Map and archive the various types of choice within your company. The opportunity to improve your vision of priority decisions, to better structure decision-making processes and to redefine the role of certain jobs.

5. Ensure sufficient and quality communication

Sometimes major businesses can be confronted with an information mismatch. Too much or not enough? Good or bad? When the gap between strategic and operational levels widens, the balance is not always easy to find. A word of advice: Keep in contact with your teams and your core business!

“Excessive bureaucracy can be fatal.”