What’s your business’ real age?

in Growing by Staff Writer
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business real age

Identify the true age of your company and start performing accordingly.

Is your start-up business flourishing so fast that it’s functioning as if it's five years old? Or on the contrary, are you running a five-year-old business that’s still no different to when it first started?

Whatever the pace your business takes, the most important thing is ensuring you're operating at your true business age. That’s why it’s essential to review your business’ growth and measure its performance on a regular basis.

Your business has probably changed significantly since it first started. Therefore, gaining a sense of certainty in regards to how well your business is functioning will help you make the most out of opportunities presented to you.

Ultimately, are you where you should be?

If your staff are overworked and constantly complaining, then you’re probably overstraining your resources. If you justify not expanding your team because you’re ‘just a start up!’ then you definitely need to reassess your business age.

The trap of growing faster than planned means you will have to deal with losing staff who feel under-resourced. You may also have to say no to work; something that can compromise your business’ reputation and ongoing success. In this case, getting staff with the right managerial experience from the beginning will help your business run at the right pace.

On the other end of the scale, if you’re an older company, yet have seen no growth, you may need to assess your ability to deal with expansion. If funds are lacking and the company isn’t staffed properly, then sales opportunities will pass by. 

After a few years, potential customers will begin to judge simple things such as the state and location of your office – and this may result in the loss of sales. In this case, you must look at your cash flow, the structure of your team, and if needs be, seek some external advice.

Create a business strategy review to assess strengths, weaknesses and direction

  • Assess your business in comparison to the competition;

  • Review the performance of your products and/or services;

  • Look at your staff and how suited they are to their roles and what you want to achieve;

  • Assess the training and skills of your team;

  • Test whether your IT equipment can cope with future business expansion;

  • Research your target market and how you’re reaching them;

  • Weigh up the pros and cons of your current office location; and

  • Assess the savings you could make on your costs and overheads.

Tips for old businesses that perform like start-ups

  • If you haven’t reviewed your business plan since the early start-up stages, it may be out-of-date and in need of a rewrite;

  • Get social - Facebook and LinkedIn may offer you opportunities to rejuvenate your business;

  • Appoint new managers and directors so you can distance yourself from the everyday running of your business and focus on larger issues;

  • Ask others in your industry how they deal with similar challenges;

  • Learn from your mistakes and find ways to improve; and

  • Ensure your business expectations and goals are attainable.

Tips for new businesses that are growing exponentially

  • Try and implement a gradual plan, which involves acting before things happen not reacting once they do;

  • Gradually develop your team and hire people who will bring meaning to their role – it’s all about quality over quantity so employ staff who can deal with tough situations;

  • Develop business relationships with an array of clients instead of focusing on a few big projects. This ensures you can operate at a steady pace; and

  • Know what your focus is in the marketplace. This will help you to say no to the wrong work and yes to the right work so you can manage workload more efficiently and deliver beyond your customers’ expectations.

Find this helpful? You might also like:

4 key learnings from start-up to small business and beyond

This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.

Related Keywords : Business Strategy
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Poll Results

How many hours do you work on your business each week?

20-30: 18%
30-40: 18%
40-50: 23%
50-60: 41%