Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ready for growth? 5 things to consider

There is a tipping point in any business, whether moving from start-up to going concern, from going concern to taking on staff or from single business to replication whereby you need to review and assess your business's readiness for growth. Here are 5 things to consider:

1. Do you have solid Foundations?
80% of the internal pain I see in organisations is due to leaders wanting to acquire new business without the appropriate systems in place to manage existing business smoothly. At each stage of growth you need to review your core processes – IT, HR, business development, customer service etc. Even a small start up needs to make consideration to these and make sure they operate effectively as growth diverts resources from core. You  need ensure that they are appropriate for the current delivery of services (i.e. without any pain points) and make an assessment of what would need to happen/ change to move to the next stage.

2. Is your value proposition clear?
Many organizations miss this part. Why? Because it takes time and it takes discipline. If you’re managing a project or enterprise, figure out what it is that you really do better than anyone else. Clearly understand what problem your service or product is solving. Figure out what’s important, what contribution you make and what you offer that others can’t. If 1,000 people can provide a service the way you do, it is going to be very hard to grow.

3. Is there a sound economic engine at the heart of your business?
This is all about having a clear and robust business model which defines how you deliver value to customers, and how you can organize your enterprise to best meet stakeholder needs and get paid for doing so. The business model determines your sustainability – your ability to deliver your organisations’ vision and mission and continue to deliver the benefits to the people you serve. Without a robust business model it is hard to scale up, be that through funding, investment or access to new customers and markets.

4. Do you have a learning culture?
Growth brings change and change brings stress to an organisation. The people within that organisation need to be in the mindset where change can happen with as few growing pains as possible. An organisation which has a learning culture (as opposed to a blame culture, a targets culture or an innovation culture) will stand a better chance of managing the change. A learning culture encourages experimentation, review and reflection, all of which are important in the change process.
5. Do you know where you want to go?
This is all about having a clear, inspiring and shared vision and strategy for growth. It’s about making choices over where you want to go, putting small steps in place which go in the right direction and being disciplined in thought and action so that you get where you are going.

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