I think the vast majority of business owners would agree that their most common shared goal is to grow their business. Whether this is on a very large national or international scale, or a smaller, local scale, the aim is to achieve growth nonetheless. In saying this however, it is crucial that businesses take their time in assessing both the risks and the outcomes of engaging in scaling activities. In other words, what business owners need to be asking themselves is
“Even though I WANT my business to grow, is it READY to grow, and could I handle it if it did?”
Pushing for rapid expansion without proper resources and support, will undoubtedly result in problems, and can even have the opposite effect, losing customers you already have.
So, if you want to know if your business is ready to take off its training wheels or take the next step up the growth ladder, ask yourself the following questions:
HAVE YOU GOT THE DEMAND?
Having the ability to grow your business starts with having adequate demand. Is your customer base constantly expanding? Are these customers exhausting almost all of your stock? If the answer is yes then you are heading in the right direction! Constantly high levels of demand are the first indication that your business is ready to grow.
HAVE YOU GOT A SOUND SUPPLY TEAM?
In order to grow successfully, it is important that you have a good working relationship with your supply team. Strong supply teams are the key to successfully carrying out any type of business scaling, but only if they are ready to take on the extra workload. If they’re not, you could end up burning relationships you’ve already built.
DO YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO SCALE?
While this might seem like an obvious one, analysing your business’s ability to actually carry out growth is one of the more difficult realities. Growing a business generally results in an increase in staff hire. Do you have the financial ability to hire more staff? Are your current staff members living up to and exceeding your expectations? Hopefully your answer to both of these is yes, but if not, perhaps business growth shouldn't be the highest of priorities at this point in time.
IS YOUR WORKING CAPITAL AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH?
While staff, supply, and demand are all important factors to consider when deciding to scale your business, your firm’s ability to carry it out successfully relies heavily on available finances. While every growing business needs an injection of capital to get the ball rolling, ideally you will have a balance between capital of your own to set the foundations and some assisted finances to give you that extra boost.
Carefully consider your answers to the above four questions, as it will be these factors that make or break your business’ ability to grow. If you’re not quite ready to take the next step don’t be disheartened, those who jump the gun never win the race!