The goal of most businesses is to grow, whether that be in terms of sales, profit, number of locations/sites, or client base. Whilst some businesses are quick to blame the current economic situation for a slowdown in growth, there are several other factors that should be assessed first. Below we’ve highlighted three reasons why some businesses stop growing.
How Much Do You Value Your Customers?
Customers should always be the number one priority, but as your business grows, it’s often the case that business owners lose focus on their customers. Whether that’s servicing existing ones or finding new ones. Too many businesses get caught in the day-to-day routine and forget that without customers their business wouldn’t exist.
A great way to keep in touch with clients is to offer them the opportunity to give you feedback on a regular basis. This helps business owners and management to keep a check-in with the services they’re providing, making sure it’s in-line with expectations. Add short surveys to your monthly emails, or even better, set-up monthly or quarterly face-to-face meetings. Although technology has replaced the need for some personal interaction, it’s still important to meet in person where possible. After all, you’re not the only business that provides the service/product that you offer, so personal interactions help to differentiate you from your competitors. Another great way to assess the service you offer is to do a mystery shop. Call your office and see how the phone is answered, or get a friend to visit your store and see how they’re greeted.
High Overheads and Manual Processes
When was the last time you assessed the systems you use within your business? What may have worked fine when you were small won’t necessarily work, or be the most efficient method, as you expand. It is quite common to see admin staff support sales, with the salesperson generating an order and manually typing it up, only for admin to re-type the same information into the accounting software to generate an invoice. This makes it hard for growth as every new sales person needs a new admin assistant. A small business may think they don’t have the funds for technology that automates these processes, and the team may have the capacity to be doing tasks manually. However, with the influx of cloud applications, an online system is more affordable than you think. The time saved by removing the manual tasks can be better spent elsewhere, or even save expenses by reducing the number of administration staff required. Get started with making your business run more efficiently, by speaking to a cloud integrator about integrated business management solutions. Imagine telling your admin staff they no longer need to manually re-enter 100 sales invoices every day. Sensational for morale!
It Takes Money to Make Money
How is your cash flow looking? Whilst you’re growing your business, it’s crucial to keep on top of getting paid, so that you have the cash to make investments and action opportunities as and when they arise. The way money flows through a business can make or break growth. You need money coming in on time to pay for outgoings. There will always be a lag between being paid and paying but a successful business controls this. No matter what payment terms your suppliers issue, such as cash on delivery (COD) or 180 day pay cycles, the core principle remains the same. The earlier you are paid, the greater your cash flow. The more cash you have on hand, the easier it is to invest in expanding your business. A major challenge for businesses when they become larger is the volume of invoices and debts as well as the manual work involved in collating the information.
Our advice? Consider better software to control and automate invoicing and debtor management. Not only will this cut-out hours of manual administration work as previously outlined, but you’ll have access to sophisticated dashboards and reports that help to understand your business performance. Reports are great for identifying areas of weakness that can be resolved before they cause too much of a barrier to growth for your business.