Growth is good. Growth is needed for companies to survive. Growth is necessary. Growth is success.
Not all the time.
Growth without foundation is a recipe for disaster. Recently I have been exposed to a few terrific companies who are experiencing incredible growth. Their sales and therefore organization are increasing exponentially. But unfortunately with this growth, these companies find themselves struggling.
Companies have increased their sales in amazing numbers. But they are experiencing issues with the surge of product needed to maintain these sales. Their current systems did not plan for the increase in inventory, potential quality issues, returns, and distribution needed. Other companies have experienced another issue with growth, communication. When these companies were mom and pop size, there was no reason to have a procedures manual or processes to track execution by employees. But now with a growing host of individuals involved with the business, they are finding consistency difficult to maintain. They are experiencing issues with individuals making decisions beyond their position, individuals unable to act because they do not understand the tools available to them, and dissatisfied customers due to lack of consistent results.
What these companies are experiencing is growth without a foundation. A foundation is the roadmap and structure for a company to grow. It takes into account what is needed today and what will be needed tomorrow. It outlines systems and procedures which can be followed as the organization grows. It anticipates the additional requirements of a growing business, when there are still only two employees.
Without a foundation, when the company grows it is behind the eight ball. The dollars are rolling in but the system is not designed to handle the additional inventory and shipments. There is lack of communication tools to keep a growing number of people in lockstep. As a small company, a heads up over the cubicle wall is all that is needed, but when there are multiple employees potentially in multiple locations, a more sophisticated and systematic process is needed.
As you develop your strategic plan for your business, be sure to include a solid foundation for future growth. Your strategic plan should include systems for sales, marketing, product development and quality control, employee training and retention, and customer management. In the beginning, the execution of these different systems can be simple and inexpensive, but be sure your strategic plan outlines the steps to take as your business grows. Without this pre-planning, you may find yourself like the businesses above. Growing but not being able to sustain the growth.
Building the Best,
Melissa Heisler, Business Coach