A friend asked me for business growth tips. Because I can’t meet everybody…more’s the pity! Here are my top four tips, in no particular order.
Business Growth Tip 1: Execute a system that maintains the quality of your product, service, or brand.
Who hasn’t made a mistake? We all do….Optimally, you want to identify and address mistakes before they impact your client. During any expansion, part of the transition is letting the new system operate. Some people let the new system work with no apparatus to quickly identify things that don’t work well. Don’t assume that every new process or person is going to work out as expected. Have some early warning system that tells you what needs to be addressed. In the beginning, usually something goes off the rails. Snafus will do no harm if you address and fix them.
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Business Growth Tip 2: Address all registration, tax, and other regulatory aspects of business expansion.
When expanding into a new jurisdiction, carefully plan the expansion. Are you required to register to do business in the state or locality? Are you required to pay corporate income or franchise tax? Are you required to register with the state tax authority? Is your product or service taxable in the new jurisdiction? When should you register, if there is a requirement? Are you required to secure an unemployment insurance account? How are you going to comply with all your responsibilities? Do you need to have support until you get your footing? These are a lot of questions. This list is not exhaustive.
Don’t forget to plan your growth with your accountant, attorney, and any other person you trust. Your advisors cannot help you if they do know what is happening with your business. “Little” decisions can land you in hot water quickly.
Business Growth Tip 3: Be available when clients attempt to communicate with you.
Who hasn’t dropped a ball or hired someone who didn’t deliver the expected quality product or service? Everyone has a story! The deal is that it’s not uncommon or a deal-breaker to make a mistake with a client’s account. A deal-breaker is the appearance that you don’t care.
When you transition an account to someone or automate it, pay attention to your client’s experience. Read and respond to emails. Call back when someone reaches out. I know it sounds like common sense, It is but monitoring someone or an account can be a challenge when you are off doing other things.
The truth is the clients you worked so hard to get are the lifeblood of the business. It’s easier to care for an existing client than to get a new one. There is a difference between addressing a client demand that only you perform daily tasks versus notification that they are not satisfied with their account lead. Most clients will work with a company that delivers a satisfactory product or service, regardless of who services the account. People are far less forgiving if they are unsatisfied and have no way to have their issue addressed.
Business Growth Tip 4: Budget carefully for growth
It is common to experience increased expenses associated with business growth. Increases in the cost of the services of accountants, attorneys, and other advisors are inevitable. They will spend more time fulfilling your needs because you increased the business footprint. Training and licenses to do business in new jurisdictions and a host of other things add to costs. Identify and plan for these contingencies.
There you have it. I have lived through the efforts of several clients and vendors who have scaled their businesses. Some people did this very well. Others did not. Most people cheer the success of others. But they won’t pay for a perceived decrease in value for the same or an increased price.
Be on your guard, scale well, and make sure that growth, leads you where you wish to be.
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