Never let ambition and momentum overtake thoughtful growth.
Business is good. Customers are happy, vendors get paid, profits grow steadily. You’re ready to expand – more branches, more product lines, more staff. How do you take the good thing you have and make it grow? How do you pull new customers in and keep old ones happy? How do you prevent the cart from rushing ahead of the horse?
Keep it simple
The simpler your business model, the easier it is to duplicate. If your company makes widgets, make sure the number of products and variations offered is limited and familiar. They don’t need three dozen varieties of widgets, but they should be simple, easily understandable, and deliverable. This path leads to stability and controlled growth.
The systems you use to deliver your goods also rely on simplicity to ensure quality and reliability. Love it or hate it, McDonald’s was built this way. Early-adopter Ray Kroc perfected their process down to the finest detail, including weight, diameter, fat content, even the number of pickles on a Big Mac. Consistency builds trust and customers were confident that their experience would be the same, regardless of store location or server.
Adapt and survive
Let your product or service leave the nest and fly a little before you attempt to replicate or scale. It needs to work well in the real world before you can declare the business model a success. You will likely need to change direction, perhaps several times, before you hit your cruising altitude.
Adaptability is also necessary when evaluating your role in the company. Scalability only works when you can take yourself out of the trenches and rise to that 30,000-foot view of the entire landscape. The key to this step is hiring well. The temptation to grow quickly is difficult to resist when business is booming, but careful hires now can save countless headaches later.
Collaboration can also be an effective survival tool. Consider a partnership rather than outright competition. In 2016, a longstanding Apple/Nike alliance yielded a souped-up version of the Apple Watch aimed at the running community, a group with strong preferences in its gear.
Listen to your team
We said it in the previous section, but it bears repeating here – hire well. Bring together a strong team and let the team members do their jobs. Do this, and you can take yourself out of the day-to-day operations, trusting that your team will handle the decisions necessary for a successful scaleable business.
Make employee education a core component of their daily work life. Document internal processes with regular workshops and a database of online training. Task your team to be experts on this material and to stay abreast of trends and innovations in your sector. Process is not to be ignored. Process and operational discipline are needed to scale.
Listen to your customers
Be attentive and patient. Always ask for customer feedback and take their concerns seriously. People buy from those they trust, and today’s social media landscape provides a powerful outlet through which they can air grievances or sing your praises. You can’t solve every customer issue at the same time, but if you demonstrate a pattern of honesty and integrity with an earnest approach to reaching an agreeable resolution, customers will respond.
An excellent example of this is the investment firm Vanguard. Since its founding, Vanguard has avoided middlemen in favor of direct contact with customers, instilling in them incredible loyalty. Another example is global agribusiness Olam, and since its inception, Olam has created a seed-to-shelf network that connects farmers directly with customers around the globe. These relationships yield a unique ability to anticipate and troubleshoot problems because they have continuous lines of communication with both clients and patrons.
Pick the right vendors/partners
You need to be sure that the vendors and partners you choose to do business with are as invested in your success as they are in their own. Choose them carefully. The last thing you want is having your valuable time burned-up by constantly being dragged into solving internal issues with phone systems or suppliers when you should be focused externally – on your customers.
At nexVortex we understand this and we built our company on a culture of service and pride ourselves on being easy to work. We have been delivering cloud communication services commercially for over 12 years with a 99% retention rate and we recognize that we couldn’t have done that if we didn’t take our role in helping our customers succeed very seriously.
Contact us and let’s discuss your business communication needs.