Coping with extreme growth: 4 tips for your small NZ business
Strong and sustainable growth is often the key priority for many small businesses in New Zealand, and for good reason: in order to really get off the ground, a business needs to grow.
The idea of rapid or extreme growth over a short period of time can seem like a good thing (a great thing, even!) for a small business – but if not handled carefully, it can be more detrimental to long-term success than no growth at all. Some of the risks of extreme growth include:
- poor customer experience
- increasing disorganisation
- structural and hiring mistakes
Sound familiar? If you’re struggling to keep up with the pace at which your small business is growing, have a look at these four tips.
1. Determine if your business growth is in the right direction
One of the first steps towards getting control of (and ultimately capitalising on) your business growth is to figure out why it’s happening. Is it your business model that’s so appealing to customers? A specific marketing campaign that’s really taken off? Or is your product meeting a need in the market that no other products do?
Once you’ve figured out the likely cause of your rapid growth, it’s a good idea to make sure it fits with your business strategy. Is this growth going in the direction you want it to go? Is it sustainable? If the answer is yes, bottle it up – that’s your unique selling point and will ultimately be your key to success.
2. Keep your customers happy
If your business is growing beyond what you’d anticipated, your customers are clearly picking up what you’re putting down. This is great! However, if you all of a sudden don’t have enough resource to account for demand or maintain quality customer service, those early customers won’t be happy.
If you’re struggling to manage customer demand, consider bringing on temporary staff to deal with high call or order volumes – at least until you’ve managed to re-organise your business to account for the growth.
3. Make careful hiring decisions
You’ll notice the word ‘temporary’ in the section above when referring to bringing on more staff. When you’ve got demand rising out of control and don’t have enough internal resource to keep up, the gut reaction may be to bring on more employees as quickly as possible.
While it’s important to make sure you’ve got enough resource internally to keep the ball rolling, you don’t want to regret hiring decisions down the road because you made them too hastily. If you need to hire permanent, full-time employees, be careful and take your time to make sure the need for those roles is still there when the business’ growth isn’t as fast or intense, and that they’re the right fit for your long-term strategy.
Contracting temporary staff can be a great way to meet your immediate business needs while effectively giving someone, not to mention the role they’re in (if it’s a new position), a trial run – if they fit in, great! And if not, you won’t end up permanently stuck with a bad hire or an unnecessary role.
4. Prepare for change
When you first ‘opened shop’, you probably had an idea of what you wanted your business to look like. This extreme growth could be bringing that dream to reality much faster than anticipated, or it might be taking the business in a direction you hadn’t expected – whether good, or bad.
If you’re keen to ride the wave and see where this extreme business growth takes you, you’ll need to be open up to the idea of change. It’ll be important to be able to try different strategies as you continue to grow, and adapt to new challenges that present themselves to you.
Struggling to keep up with demand and need an increase in working capital? Heartland offers multiple loan options for small businesses, whether you need a revolving credit account or a term loan. Check out our different products here, and get in touch if you have any questions.
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