HomeOpinion & AnalysisPrepare your business for sustainable growth

Prepare your business for sustainable growth

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

SME’s Chat with Phillip Chichoni

The past few weeks have seen daylight hours increasing and temperatures getting milder, signaling the departure of winter and the arrival of spring. And what beautiful changes spring brings!

Certain ranges of plants start to blossom and some animals come out of hibernation. People start exchanging the heavy garments of winter with lighter and more comfortable gear.

Spring is commonly associated with the ideas of rejuvenation, renewal and regrowth. What better time than spring to prepare your business for growth?

James Cash Penney, the founder of leading American department store chain JC Penney, once said “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” This is one piece of advice you must remember if you are serious about growing your business and taking it to the next level.

There are certain habits that you must develop in order to make your journey to success and excellence smooth and less painful.

It all starts with thorough planning

Planning is important, but too many of us don’t take it seriously enough. You have probably heard that failing to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t plan for growth it will never happen. Spending time planning will save you much more time when it comes to executing and achieving your goal.

Planning is the process of thinking about and organising the activities required to achieve your desired goals. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan and is a fundamental property of intelligent behaviour.

Planning starts with asking yourself very specific questions about your business, where it stands now and where you want to take it. It is followed by the setting of specific goals and targets regarding your business’ revenues and profitability.
For more detailed planning guidance, please download my eBook Three Steps to Developing a Strategic Plan to Grow your Business at http://smebusinesslink.com.

Organise your people and your resources
Once you have a clear and complete plan in place, you need to organise how it will be executed. People must be organised to take responsibility for the various goals that must be achieved. You definitely cannot do it all on your own. Find people with skills and abilities that you can leverage on.

Resources will be needed in order to carry out the various activities, such as marketing, advertising, distribution, facilities, production and administration. Money will be needed to finance the growth. You need to know how much money and where it will come from.

Learn to delegate wisely
After organising your people, you must learn the habit of proper supervision. Many owners make the mistake of pretending to delegate but continuing to micro-manage the person after giving them responsibility.

Proper delegation means you set up a system of monitoring a task, ensuring that it is being done as agreed upon and that results are as expected.

You need to check on progress; more important tasks may need to be checked more often than routine work.

Remember that over-supervision may have negative results, killing innovation and making your people hesitant to bring up new ideas or improve the way things are done.

After delegating, make sure your people have the time and resources necessary to do the work and produce satisfactory results.

Measure performance
Whatever is important must get measured. You must develop the habit of measuring performance of both individual employees and of the company as a whole.

With your growth plan showing overall sales and profitability targets, you must be able to measure results on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the type of business you are in.
Regular measurement allows you to determine if you are on course to meet your overall targets, or if you need to make some necessary adjustments.

Make sure your people know exactly what is expected of them in terms of timelines, deadlines and productivity numbers. The numbers must be clear to everyone and must be continually monitored to ensure everyone is on track.

Phillip Chichoni is a business development consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email, chichonip@smebusinesslink.com. You can also visit http://smebusinesslink.com.

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