When you first started in business, your prime consideration was probably related to getting enough paying customers to ensure sufficient cash flow.
The thing that attracted customers to you was the unique value you offered, and this was not necessarily related to just your prices.
After a time you may have even developed relationships with many of your customers, which meant that they wanted to deal with you exclusively. As time went on, you continued to give your customers ‘outstanding value’, and this was rewarded by the growth of your business.
This is the scenario for many successful businesses. An issue (we call it an opportunity) that many successful businesses face is that of ‘extendibility’. The very quality of the service that has attracted customers to you puts you in jeopardy if the quality of service you provide, and on which your business reputation is built, cannot be extended and replicated as your customer base grows.
We all know the growth issues – the right staff, appropriate processes and systems, the right finance span of management control, extending your service geographically and appropriate premises. We can also recognise the signs – not meeting customer needs, increased complaints, dissatisfied staff, inefficiencies through congestion, blockages that are more regular and harder to fix, and the need for you as the business owner to be more ‘hands-on’.
That’s why successful business owners should ask themselves the question: “If my business doubled in size, what would I need to do to be able to give the same or better service than I offer now?” If you don’t know the answer, then your future success in terms of attracting more customers may well be the biggest problem you will face.
So what’s the answer? There is a truism in business that says “a problem well defined is a problem half solved”. You therefore need to thoroughly examine your current situation as it applies to your future capacity to grow and maintain all aspects of the quality you provide.
You then need to identify the major issues that will confront you and the implications of each issue. From this, you will develop a list of priorities which forces you to develop the strategies and solutions upon which your future dependability will be based.
If you cannot guarantee the same quality of service during times of growth, then your success may well be the biggest problem you face. At Business By Design, we work with businesses to ensure that they are prepared for, and prosper from, the opportunities presented by business growth. In working with you to effectively define your major issues, we will have the problem half solved.
Business By Design Principal