Local small businesses can quickly become a successful growing concern once word of mouth gets out and the product or service is good, Lemon Signs are a classic example of this.
We have realized that handling the pressures of rapid growth can be complex, and isn't always an easy thing to weigh out. You have to make sure everything is in place to handle such a burst of business, especially when there is very little notice for the burst.
One of the things I have found difficult with Lemon Signs is ensuring there are enough finances like purchasing all the raw materials. Having a good financial structure in place is key to support such growth and vital to the success of the business. If you have seasonal trends or bursts of large projects predicting the staffing levels can be stressful never mind finding suitably qualified staff. What do you do if there isn't enough money to handle the extra costs, there won't be the success you envisaged. Any existing staff need to be used to their maximum capabilities before spending money on advertising for new staff, interviewing and then training. Your current staff/ freelance operatives might be able to take up most of the slack by reorganizing them or making sure they are working to their full potential; they may have hidden talents that you were unaware.
Although we don’t have any permanent staff, we do our best to keep them up-to-date with potential work as it is vital to our success. They need to be aware of any changes, increased expectancy to their workload and possible changes to their booked schedule. Gaining feedback from your staff is also a good idea, to make sure that everything is running as smoothly as possible, many minds solve a problem quicker and help you see things from a fresh point of view. Remember and they're on the ground floor, face to face with the customer.
Knowing what is happening from your staff’s point of view, will help with any potential hiring to enhance their work productivity. Making sure you have enough staff contracted or otherwise will help with not overloading their work schedule and lead to a better working environment, which in itself will ensure a peaceful and successful working day. You want any staff to be advocates of your business.
Handling the cash flow is also a vital part of rapid growth, something that sounds easy on paper but I am sure any business owner will tell you it is one of the key parts to running a successful business. Ensuring there is enough in the kitty for any potential unexpected growth, will always be beneficial in the continuity of that growth. Borrowing large amounts to cover unforeseen business, can turn what should be a boost in the company, into a massive failure.
Something that has taken me a while to accept is not accepting more work than you can handle, will also benefit your business. Pushing the boundaries is good but knowingly taking on work, and perhaps deadlines, you know you can't handle, is suicidal for the company, you will quickly gain a reputation for being unable to deliver. I was fortunate to have a mentor who pointed this out before any bad reputation was gained.
Asking for help or advice when your business is growing quickly is very important, it is worth every penny to have a person you can call and run ideas past. Trying to handle everything yourself, with little knowledge of everything that entails, can lead to mistakes and too much pressure. Asking for help and gaining the correct advice, will always be a positive move in helping your business expand.
If your finances are being looked after, your staff, your operations then the rapid growth should run smoothly and be an exciting time for your company. Have a look at our most recent project to show you just how far you can come in a short space of time.
Small local businesses can easily find themselves having to deal with a sudden rapid growth (trust me I am very aware of this fact), but pausing for a second and ensuring everything is in place to handle such business, will enable you to cope with the forthcoming workload. It will help you to be able to continue to handle more and more work and build up your business in a financially secure way.
Rapid growth for local businesses is also good for the community with which it is in. More money coming in will perhaps lead to more local people being employed. Which in turn will bring more money into the community and prosperity to other local businesses, such as shops and pubs. This cycle is everlasting, because if more people can afford to spend locally, then the businesses within that area will need more staff and potentially extra premises, increasing the wealth even more.