Advice for growing businesses

Get prepared for business growth

06 September 2015

Business is starting to boom. Those all-important orders are stacking up and your company could be set for its best year yet. The only spanner in the works? You don’t have the operational structure in place to make it happen. Supply simply cannot keep up with demand.

But it doesn’t have to be this way...

Prepare your business operations for a growth spurt using the 5Ms of management

1Machinery

Whether you run a manufacturing company making car parts or an IT company offering support services, every business needs to invest in its infrastructure in order to succeed.

Think about what products and tools you are going to need on your premises if you want to expand: if the machinery you use is outdated, can you afford to replace it or upgrade? Investing in the physical nuts and bolts of your company in anticipation of growth, as well as considering the ease of servicing it in the future, will mean that you can hit the ground running once the orders come in.

2Methods

Spend time thinking about the way you currently do business. Does it run as smoothly and efficiently as it should do? What processes or structures could you put in place to maximise efficiency and get the best return on your investment?

This is about looking strategically at your company’s plans, policies, procedures and values. Are they clear? Does everyone in your team understand what’s expected of them?

Also, to fulfil your business objectives it’s not enough to put all of your energy into production. Invest time in making your corporate functions – such as HR, finance, marketing and IT – as robust as possible. After all, these departments are the backbone of your business – ensuring your people are happy, the money comes in, your products are talked about, and your operations run like clockwork.

Get the right people and processes in place early on and you’ll have the ability and flexibility to react and adapt to any challenges that come your way.

3Measurement

Evaluation is key in business, so having a measurement plan in place from the get-go is vital.

Measurement isn’t just about keeping track of revenues either; it’s about measuring the performance of every aspect of your business operation. It’s about looking at your business plan and checking your progress against your objectives. It’s about learning what is working and what’s not working and not being afraid to make changes if you have to. It’s about asking your customers for feedback then taking that feedback and channelling it back into your product or service. It’s about keeping a close eye on competitors and benchmarking yourself against them. It’s about assessing your employees’ productivity and performance regularly.

Ongoing measurement and regular business review sessions will ensure your operations stay flexible and profitable as the market changes and/or your business grows.

4Money

You can’t build a successful business without injecting capital. To prepare a business for expansion you need to invest in its people, processes, materials and machinery.

To understand how much money your business will need you must have a clear understanding of your business’s operating cycle and cash flow. This will help you to determine what your working capital is and how much extra you might need to top it up in order to fund expansion.

The vital thing here is to plan ahead: if you’re keen to grow and need some short-term investment, act now. Don’t wait for that business-defining order to come in and then discover that you don’t have the means to deliver it.

5 Manpower

This is a no-brainer: after all, what is a company without the people behind it?

Effectively managing your human capital is probably the most crucial part of growing a successful business. You give staff what they need – job security, responsibility, empowerment and clear career objectives – and they’ll give you what you need – reliability, energy, focus, dynamism and a desire to get the job done.

In order to support business growth, recruiting, training and retaining the right people early in the process is essential.


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