Updated: Jun 6
When a baby is born, many things happen between the moment of birth and adulthood. At birth, the child is solely dependent on the mother for nursing, diaper change, feeding, soothing and discipline. In adulthood, society expects the individual to be productive for themselves and the greater good.
Similarly, every business goes through a distinct growth process from inception to listing on the stock exchange, a buyout or a wind-down. It is a period characterized by several elements through which, a business owner must determine if their business is
b) experiencing retarded growth
c) developing as a normal business would or
d) undergoing exponential growth, as would be the case of some in Silicon Valley.
We explore five of these elements in this article.
No matter how a business starts, the owners must put in sweat capital. Late nights and long days of crafting vision boards, strategies, mission statements, selling, marketing, hiring, firing, negotiating, setting up presentations and so much more are the order of the day for any startup.
While this grinding is expected in the initial years of business, business owners who find themselves continuously carrying the burden of the operations without team members must question their business practices and models.
● create employment and growth opportunities for staff members
● engage their growing team members in beneficial training programs and expand their scope of responsibility through delegation
● relieve the owners from directly performing menial tasks and put them in roles that demand leadership and management skills to facilitate company growth
Processes are the ultimate tool for managers. They exist to keep the company stable and reliable. Without established processes, a business will struggle to develop and implement codes of conduct. Also, standards of operation in multiple locations and consistency of service will be a challenge.
Processes help to instil confidence in customer service, structure people growth and development and scale solutions provided.
3. Technology adoption
A quick scan in the business environment will reveal how business efficiency improves through the adoption of technology. No matter the industry, new heights of success are unattainable if people don't employ better working methods.
For example, a landscaping business owner who relies on his slasher and secateurs will serve fewer clients compared with one who has a lawnmower and electric pruning shears. In a supermarket or grocery store equipped with QR code readers, stock management and sales functions will be better handled compared to a store that works with a cash register only.
Business growth is enabled by technology adoption when the users, staff and clients, are included in the adoption process. When new technology has high acceptability rates, the change process is better because the resistance is lower.
4. Business independence
Business independence is efficient operationalisation of a business without the direct influence of the owner or leader. Often, when people are setting out to start their business, part of the vision is to be free and have an enterprise runs without them being present. The internet is awash with people who flaunt the free-to-travel, free-to-work from anywhere kind of lifestyle. That's not the independence we are referring.
The bedrock of business independence is the establishment of culture, processes and trust. Without these, globetrotting C-suite managers and entrepreneurs would be curtailed in their endeavours to grow the business. Culture structures the relationships and modalities of work in the enterprise. Processes help to instil confidence in customer service, structure people and business growth and development. Trust, as alluded to in the article, Top 5 Adjustments in 2021, is the new form of currency that allows clients and staff to depend on you and build commitment.
Overall, if your business is still depending on your daily presence for efficiency, there is no business growth.
A growing business is a scalable business. It means it can have multiple locations, including virtual. It may also mean that the enterprise can be franchised or remodelled to have several outlets. Law firms start with small square footage to occupy multiple floors in a building. Well-managed clinics or hospitals spread through communities in their growth curve and hotels open in cities and countries globally, with standardised operations and processes.
Scalability is embedded in the business model and visioning process during inception but is actualised through daily operations and effective management.
Scalable businesses also take time to build because of the diversity of people and cultures within which they operate.
With every periodic review of the enterprise, factors like revenue, profits, financial ratios, customer satisfaction rates, staff turnover, and other metrics, every business owner must check their growth against these five elements before declaring that the business is growing.