Undoubtedly, a rapidly growing business is a great problem to have. It means more market penetration, increased customer reach and, ultimately, greater sales. Still, there are many challenges to address and overcome to effectively manage the infrastructure of a business that is flourishing quickly.
As the CEO of Batteries Plus Bulbs, I have witnessed the company expand from what was a single battery store in Green Bay, Wisc. to a large and fast growing battery and light bulb franchise. Between 2011 and 2013 alone, we experienced a 35 percent increase in store count, which taught us valuable lessons in managing the many fast-moving parts of a business.
Here are five tips on how others can navigate a rapid expansion and emerge victorious:
1. Customers come first. As with any business -- especially one focused on emerging technologies -- it’s important to not only understand trends in the marketplace but to keep up with them. (If you can’t effectively satisfy numerous and varied consumer demands, you will lose momentum and expansion will fizzle quickly.)
The consumer and market dynamics can dictate what strategies are necessary for a successful business and being able to assess the initiatives and changes you choose to implement will benefit you in the long run.
Consumer shopping patterns and expectations have also changed. Focusing on exceeding those expectations through offerings such as expanded store hours, increased product knowledge and expertise and unmatched in-stock inventory can make you a vital resource for your customers -- ensuring they get the products they need, when they need them.
2. Be flexible and willing to adapt. As with many things in life, it’s important to embrace change and be willing to adapt. In fact, continual evolution can signify your ongoing commitment to serving an ever-changing market. Continue to innovate and progress through new partnerships, products and services to stay afloat through a rapid expansion.
3. Reinvest in your brand. It’s important to continue investing resources to protect your position in the marketplace while you’re growing. To meet consumer demand and improve service levels, introduce new products and services, improve in-store technology, increase omni-channel marketing efforts, add training programs,and be willing to dedicate time and money toward solidifying operations and boosting sales. In addition, by expanding your staff and keeping your supply chain and distribution center consistently functioning, your business will run much more smoothly while rapidly growing.
Related: 4 Tips for Rapid Startup Growth
4. Maintain your company ethos. When a business faces rapid expansion, it can be easy to lose sight of its core principles. A company mantra that keeps me and my employees grounded and focused is the acronym H.U.M.B.L.E.: Hard Workers, Urgent, Mutually Accountable, Brand Builders, Loyal, and Execute with Excellence.
In business, growth isn’t possible by resting on your laurels, but it can be equally detrimental if you spread yourself too thin. Stay humble through rapid expansion and your customers and those that have invested in your brand will appreciate you that much more.
5. Communication is key. Constant communication among key stakeholders, the exchanging of ideas and feedback and making sure you’re aligned toward achieving the same goals is critical. Whether you’re hosting a company convention, participating in a franchise council, executive meeting or simply taking a phone call from a customer, the line of communication throughout your business should always be open.
Incorporate a consistent and streamlined process for connecting with everyone in your company to relay key messages, major milestones, goals, company changes and plans for the business. We must all be on the same page in order to move forward collectively and cohesively.
Related: The Hurdles of Scaling Globally
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