Growth is like vegetables: quite possibly the best thing for a budding business. Growth allows for better security and less risk, greater profit potentials, and more prestige and authority within your community and industry. Growth makes you feel good. However, growth is also like ice cream: You can’t have it whenever you want.
Before you can expand – into new locations, new markets, new anything – your business has to be completely prepared. Otherwise, you are only setting yourself up for problems. Here are six likely reasons your business isn’t yet ready to take the next step.
1. You Don’t Have a USP
If you don’t know what the letters USP stand for, you definitely aren’t yet ready for growth. A USP is a unique selling proposition, or the way your business differentiates itself from the competition. Few entrepreneurs are creative enough to develop unique businesses; instead, they develop unique methods of selling their business. For example, for years Dominos Pizza’s USP was its guarantee to deliver in 30 minutes or less, which is how it was able to hold a prominent place in the cutthroat delivery food industry. Ideally, your USP can be summed up in a catchy phrase or slogan that your customers will remember easily – which is something a capable marketer can develop.
2. Your Teams Don’t Communicate
Not too long ago, it was standard business practice to segregate your business’s departments. Your sales team had no reason to communicate with your designers, and your customer service folks and marketers would hardly have a reason to meet. However, many businesses have learned that poor communication within a single brand or company inhibits growth, and when different departments work together, everyone benefits. If your teams fail to cooperate well, you might need further training before considering growing the company just yet. One way is to seek an online master’s in business, which will give you the tools to manage your teams effectively and grow your business naturally.
3. You Don’t Have Recognition
How do you know your customers like you? You might say your ever-increasing profit margins or your feedback questionnaires. But how do potential customers know your current customers like you? The answer here is social proof, which you probably don’t have.
Most modern consumers perform online research before making any purchase. During their investigations, they are looking for evidence that your past customers have been satisfied by your products or services. This so-called social proof can come in many forms: case studies, testimonials, media endorsements, customer statistics, and more. You can post this information on your website or partner with blogs and online publishers to gain recognition for your business. The fact is, without social proof, customers won’t continue to buy from you, which means your business isn’t ready to grow.
4. You Don’t Test Yourself
You won’t be able to know for certain that your business is growing without reliable analytical methods, so before you can make any decisions that might lead to growth, you should have a testing strategy in place. There are dozens of online and off-line analytical tools to help you quantify every aspect of your business. For example, Google Analytics provides statistics on visitor activity that will help you monitor the effectiveness of your website. A data analyst or logistician should be adept at performing typical business testing.
5. You Don’t Trust Your Suppliers
Suppliers make the world go around. If it weren’t for your business’ suppliers, your products would never reach your customers. As it is, you likely rely on a number of supplier services, but you probably don’t know them all too well. Unfortunately, this oversight could cost you significant future growth.
Having a good relationship with your suppliers provides substantial business boons. For one, having clear expectations with your suppliers allows you to reallocate your energy to other processes that can proffer more growth, like product design or customer service.
6. You Don’t Have Goals
Growth means many things to many businesses, and it is essential that you know exactly how you want to grow before you decide to do it. You could dream of opening additional locations in other cities, or you could hope to expand your product line to reach new markets and audiences. Additionally, once you develop your goals, you must have clear objectives that allow you to reach them. Your business won’t grow because you will it to; you must have a planned route with a clear finish line.