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Managing Business Growth (Revised)

business growth, small business

Everything that demands effort should aim for growth. Whether it is a common herb that requires weeding, or an abstract economic hypothesis that calls for hours of study and research; effort without growth is wastage. A business entity is therefore not an exception.

Just as a parent may at one time wish that his child remains a sweet little baby forever, an entrepreneur may sometimes wish that his business slows its growth so that he may escape the headaches associated with managing growth. However if a business entity is to be vibrant past its fifth birthday, such sentiments cannot be held for long. Furthermore, practical business objectives are related to growth whether in profits, sales, staff capacity or brand loyalty. It is therefore necessary that an entrepreneur is well equipped to deal with the challenges that come with business growth

In spite of the differences that exist within the business circles, certain common effects of growth need to be understood if growth is to help achieve the principle objective of an organization. The following are some suggestions that would be helpful to anyone who intends to manage an entity for growth:

Establishment of Long Term Goals and Objectives.

A good number of small start-ups thrive on one time deals and windfall opportunities. The entities learn to get by without having to focus on issues such as the clientele needs, employees opinions and the most rewarding market segment. However as the business grows, the entity might find it extremely difficult to serve its purpose if it lacks focus. Common business tasks will be handled as emergencies; more than half of the time will be spent on repairing damage or preventing a looming one. Value addition, customer satisfaction and such like terms may be buzzed around but rarely pursued.

An entrepreneur must therefore be a captain who is directing the ship not a pilot of a hijacked plane who though seated on the pilot seat, has little control over the plane. A good place to start with is to prepare a business plan. The plan must be measurable and but qualitative. The timeline should neither be too long to be exciting nor too short to obscure the long term vision of the entrepreneur. The organization may need to consult a business expert or the employees may prepare one if they are well-suited for the task.

Establishment of and Respect for Organizational Structures.

A growing business needs to be controlled as much as a start-up or a mature one. As an entity moves from a situation whereby decisions are made by two or three people, it is important that a clear organization structure is established and respected.

A common tendency among small enterprises is that certain people within the organization exercise power when and where they are not authorized to. Due to the closeness of the relationships within the organization, unwritten rules tend to prevail even when they contradict written ones and hence breed resentment and dissatisfaction among those who are motivated by fairness and consistency.

The management of a small enterprise needs to go through the tasks that are to be performed within the organization and consolidate these to form departments. After departments have been formed, job titles can then be created within the departments, which will then be allocated their job descriptions. It is important that job descriptions be allocated to job titles rather than to individuals, so that as the entity grows, staff recruitment shall focus on the ability of the recruit to fulfill a given task rather than filling someone else shoes.

Regular Short Term Reviews of Achievements.

In order for an entrepreneur to effectively deal with the challenges of growth, one needs to establish a well designed mechanism of reviewing the achievements of the organization. The reason for this is to make sure that the entity is pursuing its goals to the best of its ability through greater efficiency and effectiveness. An organization that does not conduct regular reviews may realize the folly of its ways too late.

It is important to use as little resources as possible so that the benefits of lower costs can be passed over to the consumer whenever the market demands it.

Effectiveness on the other hand, will help the organization provide the best product possible for its customers. If this is not done, the entrepreneur may wake up from his slumber only to realize that all his customers have moved to the competitor as a result of a minor dissatisfaction that would have been cleared if only the entrepreneur was keener.

These suggestions are by no means exhaustive. However, they serve to remind us that organizations rarely grow by default. Those that do, usually end up eating themselves.

For a start-up to grow in a healthy manner, a deliberate effort must be made to ensure that the foundation is firm lest when the storm comes, the house collapses.
Published: 2008-07-10
Author: Ernest Achesa

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