Tackling the Growth Hurdles Before They Arrive
It is fun to have a business in the planning stage. It will never get better than that. It will never be more successful, have more customers, make more money, or generate more buzz than what it does while it is still just a figment of your imagination. It is when the Open for Business sign lights up that the problems start.
Surprisingly, no one really knows the true percentage of businesses that fail. Expert sources are all over the map. It could be four out of five in the first two years, 50% in the first year, 1/3 in the first 10 years. Whatever the number, it is a pretty sure to bet that 100% of the ones that fail do so because they didn’t plan for growth hurdles before they arrived.
Everyone can serve the first customer. But what about the hundredth? Everyone can manage expenses on day one. But what about day 365. Here are a few more growth hurdles you will need to figure out before opening for business:
The Little Things
When dreaming up their business, no one ever thinks about whether they will use packing peanuts, or something more expensive, but less environmentally damaging. You might want to consider that if you are in the green products industry. Will you have expensive, professional packaging for inexpensive products? Or will you settle for blister wrap and risk a lot of buyer’s remorse? These are the kinds of little things that get decided at the last minute, but can have a huge impact on a business in the right circumstances.
If you are doing any manufacturing, have you considered the roller conveyors you might be using? Or were you planning to just pick something up at an auction? Perhaps you start out with the kind that can keep boxes oriented in the right direction. Or maybe you have invested too heavily in the medium duty variety.
What happens when you start to grow and find that heavy-duty conveyors would have been a better long-term play. If you don’t want to have to go through a major retooling down the road, think about the little things that mean a lot to your business.
A Website That Scales
One of the big problems small businesses run into online is that they make too small of an investment in websites that do not scale with the growth of their business. They never considered that websites need to grow or even that they could. It is like opening a restaurant with only enough tables to accommodate your family and friends. If you are successful, you are going to need more space.
Tech News World’s expert advice on website scaling began with these words:
The stories of websites that fell over and died when they got unexpected traffic are legion. A recent example of what not to do would be Target’s introduction of a low-priced Missoni collection
Later in that article are certain metrics you should be asking your website designer about up front. Among them are:
These are not things that can easily be bootstrapped onto a website infrastructure that wasn’t built with them in mind. Make sure your website can grow with the rest of your business.
If you are a development house that hired Flash coders as the backbone of your business, you have got a lot of time on your hands to consider the shortsightedness of that decision. Rather than hiring the talent you think you need at the beginning, why not use a modern staffing service that specializes in IT to stay flexible during your first few years of growth?
One set of development skills may not necessarily translate to another. That is why it is best to think ahead, and not get tied down with talent that possesses a skill set for today. Staffing flexibility, a scalable website, and all the small, moving parts are the growth hurdles that will keep your business around for the next ten years, assuming you tackle them before they become obstacles.
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