Avoiding burnout when starting a business is one of the first hurdles you will encounter on your entrepreneurial journey. Your next thrilling challenge is to manage your first ‘growth spurt’ and stick the landing. But while growth is always good news for a small business, explosive growth can be damaging if you’re not ready to cope with the increase in demand.
So how do you ensure that your business takes its first real growth period in stride? These simple tips will help you stabilize the ship and keep growing.
Get The Best Tool For the Job
Once your business is bringing in more capital, it makes sense to use those funds to iron out any wrinkles in how your business operates, from product development to marketing and HR. Getting your hands on the latest in specialized business software is a no brainer when higher demand starts to push your limits, as you won’t want to waste time or resources muddling along with the low-budget, multi-function technology that’s got you this far. In the initial phase of launching your business, your startup budget probably didn’t stretch to include sophisticated reporting or custom-build software, but now that you have a little more funds at your disposal, it’s worth plowing that money back in your business and streamlining operations wherever possible.
Now is the time to get the right tools for the job. Invest in the best you can afford, whether it’s software for oracle forms migration or a portal for HR management. Securing market-leading products might feel like a big investment at this stage, but as your business goes from strength to strength, that initial outlay is sure to pay off over time. The temptation is always to settle for cheaper, inferior products, but you could end up spending more down the line when you realize that your business is suffering.
Industry-leading Customer Service
For your company to maintain high customer service standards as demand increases, you may need to invest in more staff and training. Not only is it essential that you keep your existing customers happy (it’s thanks to them that you’re where you are today, right?) you’ll also be working hard to get new customers and retain them as your business continues to grow.
Making every effort to provide your customers with a stellar customer experience is a fantastic way to increase your chances of broadening and strengthening your customer base. Remarkable customer service encourages people to mention their positive experience with your brand to their friends and connections, both in-person and online, helping you build an organic following and foster brand awareness. According to recent studies, a disappointing product experience doesn’t have to result in a customer’s sense of having been let down by your brand. If your customer service is unmatched, that customer can still be left with a positive experience of your brand, despite having received a less-than-ideal product on that occasion. Seen in this light, money you invest at this stage into your customer service performance doubles as a contribution to your marketing budget.
Get a Brand Bible
From the outside, i.e. from a customer’s perspective, one of the first signs that a young company is undergoing explosive growth is that all of a sudden, the experience of making a purchase, returning an item, booking a service, or giving feedback, involves communicating with a wide range of different individuals who are speaking on behalf of the business. There’s nothing wrong with having a large and diverse customer service team—in fact, that’s something to boast about—but the experience of encountering a discordant range of tones and voices all claiming to speak on the company’s behalf can be disorienting for the customer.
Perhaps when you first launched your business, you were the one doing all the “talking”, whether it was customer service or writing copy for the website. For all intents and purposes, if the brand had a voice, it was yours. Now your brand has a chorus of different voices. Having an inconsistent voice undermines your brand’s credibility. To help your customer-base build a strong relationship with your business, a cohesive brand voice is key. You can develop your own brand voice guidelines in-house or you could spend a little extra money on a marketing agency that specializes in brand voice. They will work with you to devise a voice that is based on your company’s values and produce a “Brand Bible” for all your employees to use, whether they’re speaking to a customer, posting on social media, or emailing a supplier.
Your first growth spurt can be a little destabilizing. These tips will help you come through this exciting time with flying colors.