Rapid Expansion: Surviving The Growing Pains

Aug 4, 2015 Blog  Business Finance
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Like every entrepreneur, in embarking on your endeavour to realise your dream, you hope for growth, profit and as few bumps along the proverbial road as possible.  What some of the greener entrepreneurs don’t know or appreciate is that growth and profit do not always go hand in hand – especially when that growth is faster than you or your team are prepared for.  That being said, growth is symptomatic of a business’ success, the future of your startup is reliant on you setting and meeting ambitious targets, on being bold in your decision-making and fearless in your approach.  Rapid growth can be a sign of good things to come, however, it should be handled with care not complacency.

If you are a startup entering a phase of expansion here are some coping mechanisms to ensure that the growing pains aren’t crippling.  If you are starting to feel the financial pinch of surpassing your forecasted growth speak to RainFin.


Communicate change

Change can be unsettling for a team and as such, it is important to keep your employees abreast of change, leaders are often reluctant to share the company’s dirty laundry, but the reality is that, as a small team, everyone being on the same page and understanding the nuances of the upcoming threats and opportunities enable you to navigate them as a tight unit.

Leaders need to lead

As the owner, at the beginning, it was your responsibility to do everything, from wash the dishes to meet clients.  Now that your business is enjoying the first signs of success it is your responsibility to lead your team.  It is time to take a step back, take stock of each team member’s strengths, including your own, and leverage them – only then can you get the best out of everyone.  This exercise will also allow you to identify where there are holes in your collective knowledge so that you can fill them.

Deal with increased demands

One of the biggest pitfalls of new businesses is managing the increased volume of work.  It goes without saying that, with increased referrals your team will need to work harder meeting more stringent deadlines.  Yes, your team should band together, after all the company’s success is their success, however, it is important to acknowledge and reward their commitment.  It is acceptable to ask them to work longer hours in the short term but it is important to remember that extended periods of pressure take its toll on staff morale and is not sustainable.  As your company grows, map where the pain-points are and take a holistic approach to relieving them.  One of the best ways to deal with the pressure of increased demands is to work smarter.  RainFin can help you here, if you need a business loan you can submit one application and see your loan enter the RainFin marketplace.  Here your loan will be visible to multiple lenders who will all compete to offer you the most competitive rate.  Let us do the hard work for you – leaving you free to focus your efforts on your business.


It’s not all about business as usual

The inclination for a lot of businesses, especially in a period of growth, is to stick with what you know. An “if it ain’t broke, why fix it” approach may work in a lot of spheres but as a startup you run the risk of becoming irrelevant. Successful companies spend as much time (if not more) on innovation as they do on maintenance.  It is crucial to embed this into your team culture and to empower staff to develop systems for maintenance so that they can focus on innovation.  With this approach firmly instilled you can work together to agree a wish list of changes or a ‘business as unusual’ list.  A list of initiatives that you want to see come to fruition as a team.  Tackle these one at a time and commit to making them happen.

Customer service

One of the reasons customers choose small businesses over bigger ones is the personal service they receive and the attention to detail.  As you grow it is important to manage this.  Of course, you cannot personally give 100 customers the same level of attention that you gave your first 10.  That being said it is important to be consistent.  There is a theory that suggests that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your client base.[1]  On this basis it is important to focus your efforts and attention on these customers.  All of your clients should expect a consistently high level of customer service but your extra effort should be reserved for the few who make your business tick.

Cash flow

This is one hurdle that is capable of knocking your business off of its feet.  A lot of businesses find that the cost of elements needed to support fast expansion i.e. increased stock, personnel and technology can outstrip the immediate income.  This can prove to be a lethal blow and an issue that should be addressed immediately.  This is where RainFin come in.

RainFin – the answer to cash flow crisis’ for SMEs

RainFin is a lending marketplace.  What does that mean in simple terms? Well, it means that, as a borrower, with a good credit rating, you are able to apply for a loan, setting your own terms, how much you would like to borrow and over how long.  RainFin then moderates your loan and if it is successful it enters the marketplace.  Once it is live, a community of lenders can view your application and compete for it.  Ok, that sounds fine, but what are the benefits of choosing RainFin over the bank?

  • You only have to apply once to access multiple lenders– no need to shop around and risk damaging your credit rating through multiple credit applications
  • The entire process is online and can be carried out 24/7
  • RainFin’s unique scorecard takes a comprehensive look at your business’ overall financial health and potential and not just its credit score.
  • As our lending marketplace is home to multiple lenders we are able to offer more competitive and flexible rates compared to the banks who offer access to just one lender.


RainFin. The Smartest Way To Borrow And Lend Money

 

[1]http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229294

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