One of the hardest parts of running a business is maintaining quality while the business is growing. The same skillset that makes you successful while you're starting out is not the same skillset that will take you to another level. The quality will not be the same unless you build in systems to do that.
So how do you maintain quality while you are growing? Here are some thoughts while designing your process and growth plan:
- Is it repeatable? This is not number one by coincidence. Whatever process you lay out in business must be repeatable. How you acquire a customer, service their needs, bill their account, track their usage, etc. must be repeatable. Your processes have to be able to work over and over without your employees leaning on you to handle them. The system should work like a well oiled machine.
- Is it extendable? Can you take what you do today and grow it to any magnitude? What if your clients went from 1 to 100, can your systems and processes handle that? What if your employees doubled, how would you train them? Think this through and lay the groundwork today. If you are working toward growth, it is much easier to fix it now and perfect it rather than when things get really busy. This could shut you down.
- Is it expandable? Does what you invest in today have the ability to expand as your business grows? Here is an example; If you purchase a phone system that can only handle two phone lines, it can't expand. You are limiting your ability to grow your phones. So everything you invest in must have the ability to grow as you do. This way no investment gets lost in the short term and you can grow when needed. That isn't to say you should buy more than you need, the opposite. Just buy what you need today and make sure it has the ability to grow with you. Every technology I can think of has this ability. You just have to pick the right brands.
- Is it sustainable? Can what you do today last going forward? If the entire business is dependent on you then your business is not able to grow since it can't sustain for the long term. Your rocket will flame out before you reach your target. Your growth will max out when your time maxes out.
Many times the owner is the reason a business isn't growing. They want to work harder and longer not realizing that the problem isn't their work ethic, but the sustainability of the processes in place. Nothing is repeatable, extendable, or expandable!
Maintaining quality is a real problem companies face and something you have to think about now. This is the sole differentiator in a boutique business and a small business. There are not "good problems to have". You won't survive if you can't handle new customers and maintain quality.
The skills you have today will get you to a certain point. You will need a new skillset to take you to the next level.