Running a business is no piece of cake. Numerous problems pop-up when you’re trying to scale your business. From making petty to hardcore decisions; business concerns are never-ending.
As an entrepreneur, you’re here because you have already launched your business, effectively went through your product development, and may even be earning a handsome revenue, nonetheless, you wish to expand your operations and grow your business.
Not all businesses grow into the growth phase, and many shut down during the launch stage. Achieving growth is an important challenge that can hinder the growth of the business.
For a business, launch phase requires passing through to the launch phase requires solving problems and executing a host of activities such as getting traction, securing enough funds to survive the next three years, validation of the idea/product and perhaps the most important, getting the first thousand customers.
After a successful product launch phase, the game gets tougher as the business now has to concentrate on the challenge of growth that generally means multiplying every achievement of the launch phase by a factor of 10.
While growing the business several challenges may haunt you over and over again. More than that, businesses often face the problem of growth stagnation in which the growth of the business slows down for a significant period, and in worse cases, the business starts to show signs of decline.
At this point, it is important to discuss a common startup pitfall. Many startup owners immediately start thinking about growth. Instead, they should focus on scaling the business. Few startup owners understand the difference between scaling and growing a business. As such, you need to pick the right time to grow your business and invest your time, resources and finances into the project.
On one hand, there are shareholders who require the payment of their dividends and on the other hand, the managers need those funds to expand operations. This triggers a conflict between ownership and control, which is why you must be aware of the right time to expand the business.
Entrepreneurs often have difficulty in selecting the right time frame to expand the business in the context of growth. One of the most important things they need to understand that it is not all about money. Expansion is not always about having larger profits. It can also mean product innovation, enhanced experiences or feature development which can lead to increased customers and consequently increased revenues. There are signs that indicate the right time to grow the business. You should look out for these indicators and strike when the iron is hot!
In particular, the top indicators that business owners should look out for are:
Paying attention to your competitors is an essential business process that helps you refine your branding, innovate with new products and services, and secure talent more effectively. In essence, competitor intelligence opens doors to business expansion opportunities.
You might want to know the persona your competitors are working on, the improvements they have made to their product(s), the amount their latest startup funding round has generated for the business, and the changes they have made in their team.
If your competitors appear to be growing, there are opportunities in the industry for you to grow as well.
Tip: If your competitor is spending a lot on advertising, building a shiny new office space or buying new Bentleys for their executives, don’t confuse it with growth. There is always a chance that they are not considering their burn rate.