Business growth usually doesn’t happen overnight. Expansion takes time and careful planning. If growth is rushed, quality may go down and control may be lost.
My company, Cutler PR, has been working hard to constantly improve our service offerings, develop a sound and scalable infrastructure, build a strong marketing program, establish a great reputation in the industry, and most importantly, keep clients happy. All of these elements have allowed us to enter a major growth spurt.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned from the process and would like to share:
1. Strengthen products and services
The product or service is the lifeblood of a business. Without a solid product or service, a business cannot grow.
Gauge the health of the product or service with customer feedback. Listen to what clients have to say and make changes accordingly.
Clients with glowing references can powerfully demonstrate the value of the product to future customers as the business expands. When the business has a lot of happy customers or clients, it’s probably ready for growth.
2. Build a stable infrastructure
Businesses that fail to establish a sound infrastructure will crumble under the pressures of expansion. The infrastructure needs to function well at the business’s current size and be able to scale to accommodate growth. Having clear, defined processes and systems is the key.
Have a set system for how each part of the business is done, and lay out the roles and responsibilities for various employees.
With predetermined processes and a solid infrastructure, adding a large amount of new customers or clients won’t be as difficult.
3. Recruit a great team
One person cannot do everything. As the business grows, more and more tasks will need to be accomplished, and if one person is doing all the heavy lifting, the expansion may quickly lead to burnout.
Instead, build a team that is professional, that makes good decisions under pressure, and that can help grow the company together. Take the time to truly find the right people to work with and allow the team to shine.
4. Polish the appearance
As the business enters a growth spurt, more leads and potential customers will compare the company against competitors. The company’s presence needs to make a great first impression.
Invest in creating marketing materials and polishing existing materials, such as the company website. Brochures, proposals, slide decks and other materials should look professional and communicate what the brand is all about.
5. Target new business
New customers and clients won’t magically find the company. The engine of growth is pursuing new clients and bringing in new business. Invest plenty of time and money into marketing and sales to get the company name out there, attract new clients and fuel growth.
What do you think? What’s the most important thing businesses can do to prepare for a growth spurt? Let us know in the comments section below.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.