In increasingly competitive market conditions, focusing on growth is the only way small businesses can survive and thrive in the long run.
However, growing a business with limited resources comes with several challenges.
When you grow your team, acquire new assets, or invest in better tools and systems, you can face business challenges like reduced profitability, employee demotivation, and inefficient customer support.
WeWork’s dramatic fall in 2019 exemplifies just how badly aggressive growth can backfire. Once valued at $47 billion, the company had to lay off more than 3,000 employees because it hired too aggressively and faced severe cash flow challenges. On the other hand, Tesla is an excellent example of a company that has not only grown over the last decade but also maintained profitability.
In this article, we’ll share tips to help you manage growth and anticipate the challenges most companies face during expansion.
Tip #1: Document your business growth strategy
If you want sustainable business growth, you must follow a carefully designed strategy. A small business growth strategy is the roadmap your company can follow to achieve its goals while remaining profitable in the long run.
It considers your existing business model, infrastructure, and resources to help you identify practical goals for sustainable growth. Components include your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis, alignment with your marketing strategy, the financial management of your business, and other tools to help you project exactly what resources you need to achieve business success and specific growth targets.
Once you create a growth-focused business strategy with all stakeholders on board, you can communicate your business plans with your team and align the required assistance and working capital to go after your targets.
Tip #2: Carefully plan your growth pace
Successful businesses plan their growth pace meticulously. It is among the most common challenges for businesses because if you grow too fast, your employees, tools, or systems might not support you. If you grow too slowly, you might miss out on new opportunities, and your competition might adapt and leave you behind.
As an entrepreneur, you must manage change to ensure your team members and existing organisational structure can support you in achieving your growth targets. Set aggressive but realistic timelines for every goal and ensure you have the resources to achieve them. In addition, incentivise the right employees and show them the long-term benefits of business growth to keep them motivated.
Tip #3: Hire with clear goals
When small businesses or startups experience hyper-growth, they make the mistake of hiring talented professionals without knowing how to use them. They keep growing their teams, anticipating new projects and clients as their business contributes to growth.
If not carefully planned, this approach can seriously backfire. This happened to Meta, Amazon, and many other tech companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the demand for online products and services surged during the pandemic, companies aggressively hired thousands of professionals in all business areas. As the world opened up, their growth normalized, and ultimately they had to lay off thousands of employees.
So, hire when there’s a clear need in your business. You must know precisely why you’re hiring someone and what impact they’ll have on your business growth.
Tip #4: Use a CRM system
When businesses expand rapidly, customer management becomes one of the biggest challenges. As new business pours in, your sales and services teams struggle to track leads, understand customer needs, and serve them on time.
This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) system like Act! comes in. Designed for growing businesses, Act! brings a sense of calm to your business and helps you streamline customer management and retention through efficient tracking and centralized reporting.
No matter who on your team interacts with a customer or approaches a lead, Act! ensures they know everything about the lead’s challenges, business needs, and preferences.
Since Act! is a cloud CRM solution, it’s highly scalable and offers features for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re finalising your business growth plans or experiencing unexpected growth, using a CRM will allow you to take control of your customer management and ensure the highest service standards.
Tip #5: Automate customer communication
As your customer base grows and your business caters to diverse needs, timely communication and issue resolution become critical to your service standards.
Most businesses hire more people to handle this challenge. However, with AI chatbots, email marketing automation, and behavioral messaging, business owners can drastically reduce manual work and automate most customer interactions without compromising standards.
This becomes even easier when you’ve implemented an integrated CRM and marketing automation system like Act! instead of manually reaching out to leads or customers, you can integrate your email marketing software with Act! and automatically send emails and messages when customers reach specific stages in their lifetime.
For example, you can configure an automated welcome sequence that goes out to every new customer and onboard them seamlessly. Similarly, you can use AI chatbots that respond to your prospects’ most common questions using your knowledge base and training data.
In short, once your CRM is integrated with a marketing communication tool, you can completely automate customer communication, lead nurturing, and sales interactions.
Tip #6: Train employees for growth
Your business expansion plans rely heavily on your team’s ability to manage change while preserving your core service standards, operational excellence, and company culture. As your company grows and you hire new employees, you’ll need your top talent to step up into more senior roles, unlearn the old ways, and contribute to your business differently.
For that to happen, though, you must equip them with the right skills and train them for their upcoming challenges. Many small businesses underestimate the importance of employee training and suffer when their teams lack the capacity to execute their growth plans.
Carefully evaluate the skills you’ll need in your workforce to reach your growth targets and invest in employee skill development so they stay motivated, feel valued, and continue to contribute positively to your business.
Are you ready to handle your business growth challenges?
Whether you’re running a new business or an established company, it’s thrilling to see it grow as you hire more people, invest in better systems, and compete with larger organisations. However, to successfully manage business growth, you must plan, train your employees, and use the right tools (including a CRM).
Act!’s contact management and automation features can help you achieve this goal. Sign up for a free trial to see for yourself how it can help your business grow.