If you're a successful entrepreneur, you've put heart and soul into your start-up, and that same focus will help build future success, as well. Once a business is ready to expand, you need a plan for scalable growth. Scalable growth means taking measured steps to manage growth so that your costs and effort increase marginally while your revenue increases substantially. That can help you manage your resources, maintain profits and enhance your brand. Here are five ways to help manage growth:
Have a flexible business plan.You don't want to be scrambling to hire workers after customers are already complaining about lack of service or goods. However, you also don't want to overstaff or load up on excess inventory and end up with costs growing in lockstep with revenue–that is just running in place. Try to develop products and services that meet increased demand while only incrementally increasing costs, such as training seminars or templates that can be easily replicated. If you're in retail, study customers' buying patterns to see what days and times you need to staff up and pay close attention to inventory.
Nurture current customers.According to research quoted in Forbes, 20 percent of current customers will account for 80 percent of future sales. It's also far easier and cheaper to keep existing customers than obtain new ones. New sales are vital to future growth, but rewarding existing customers can help ensure repeat business. Use a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of birthdays, analyze buying patterns and reach out with special promotions and reminders (think of those "you left something in your shopping cart" emails from online merchants).
Raise your profile.Not every business has the luck of Death Wish Coffee, an upstate New York company that saw sales jump 400 percent after winning a TV ad spot during the 2016 Super Bowl. However, your business can raise its profile with a robust online presence. Keep your website updated. If it includes online ordering, make sure it's intuitive and secure. Many younger consumers want a personal (although electronic) connection with the businesses they buy from, so include information about your team on your site. Take advantage of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about online tools to promote your business.
Build a trusted team.Now that your business is off the ground and running, growth means the opportunity to delegate to people who have strengths you may lack. Put a trusted team in place to manage day-to-day functions and give yourself time to focus on the big picture.
Have financing in place.Don't wait until you need it to apply for a business line of credit. It can provide the flexibility to pounce on opportunities as they arise or react to fluctuating revenue. If you're ready to expand, buy equipment or commercial property, and need a business loan, Navy Federal offers an array of options to its members. Learn more about business loans and Business Services.