As the owner or CEO of a small or mid-size business, growing the company is sure to be a top priority, whether it's in the near future or further down the road. But how do you achieve sustainable growth without getting in over your head and risking the stability of your company? Build a business platform that can handle the increasing demand on resources, but is still flexible enough to respond to changing market conditions.
This is no easy task. It requires forward thinking and a critical assessment of your company's current state. So where do you start? Take a hard look at these three elements of your business to determine how scalable you are right now, and what you need to change to position yourself for growth.
1. Develop a scalable operational strategy
Don't be held back by a lack of resources – set up an organizational structure that ensures you have the resources you need when you're ready to expand. When you think about resources, don't confine your view to financial capital. Consider the people you'll need – both in numbers and expertise. And look at the operational processes and infrastructure you'll require to support your future state. To define the future organization at an early stage, consider these questions:
Where do you see the business heading?
What functions can you outsource and what do you really need to be good at yourself?
How will you set up management structures so that they can expand as necessary without getting too complicated?
What processes can you standardize and automate to improve efficiency?
2. Implement an ERP system early
Small and mid-size businesses have more options available to them than ever before, including ERP systems designed specifically for the needs of smaller, more nimble organizations. ERP allows you to increase efficiency, gain visibility into your business and set the stage for future growth. But are you taking advantage of what these technologies have to offer? How flexible is your IT platform? Are you leveraging the benefits of cloud technology? Can your systems scale as your business grows?
3. Focus on the "secret sauce" – your people and the company DNA
Hiring the best people sounds like a no-brainer, but it's critical to your company's success from day one. Settling for second-best talent can slow down the organization and hinder your long-term growth. So, now that you've hired your all-star team, how do you keep them? Building a challenging and rewarding environment, and offering continuous training opportunities to help your employees grow is a great start. But the company culture, the DNA, is by far the most important element – the secret sauce, if you will. What are your company's values and vision? How does your company behave? What is it like to be an employee? If you, and your staff, have a solid understanding of the company's DNA, you'll have a solid sense of direction as you grow.
As you prepare for future growth, remember that flexibility is key. You don't want to overhaul your business processes, systems or team structures every time you expand. Rather, your business should scale easily to adapt to changes in the business plan or the marketplace. From an operational perspective, an ERP system ticks these boxes, allowing you to continuously improve your processes and adapt as required by changes in the business. Creating a solid foundation for growth will be the competitive advantage you're looking for.
As one of the top Canadian ERP partners, we've helped many other growing businesses streamline operations and fuel growth. We're here to guide you through the process – right from evaluation, through implementation and beyond.