The growth of a company starts with a review of its products, services and business processes. This exercise helps you consolidate your gains and continue to innovate in an ever-changing marketplace. It also makes it possible to establish a strategy for stability, security and long-term benefits, as mentioned by Info entrepreneurs. Here are the main tips to bring your organization to the next level. They come from a selection of articles covering this topic.
The golden rule
To grow your business, you have to get out of a purely “reactive” mode, despite daily operational requirements (processing invoices, meeting with clients, responding to requests, managing crises, etc.). You also have to be “proactive,” by putting business processes on paper, monitoring the market, measuring your successes and setting goals.
It's not always easy to find time to focus on the future. Involve your staff in this exercise during team meetings to better begin this thought process. This activity will add a creative energy to your weekly meetings. Discuss one topic per meeting and give the team 30 minutes for discussion.
Tip #1: Learn lessons from your good and bad moves
What are your three biggest successes in the last year? What is the common denominator to these successes?
Why did you lose contracts? Try to identify the three main reasons. Was the loss related to the delivery of the product or service, to its quality or cost, or to the way you presented it? These issues are important to identify your weaknesses and improve your business processes and your offer.
Tip #2: Analyze what differentiates you from the competition
Take your three biggest competitors and examine what sets you apart from them. What is your added value? How do you make it known to your customers?
Tip #3: Assess your clientele
Who are your most profitable clients and what connects them? Determine why these clients do business with you by taking time to discuss with them. That way, you'll know what they want, which of their needs you already effectively cater to, and what other needs you could meet with new products and services. During an expansion phase, it’s crucial to take extra care of this clientele, since it will provide you with the funds you need.
List the potential clients that you haven't yet contacted. As Kim Auclair mentions, your acquisition strategy must be up to date to maintain your company's sales pace.
Tip #4: Determine where your products and services are in their life cycle
Pay attention to your products' and services' obsolescence, because this factor affects your profit margin. You should know how profitable your offer is. What works best? Which of your products and services seem outdated or insufficiently cater to your customers' needs?
Is it time for you to innovate? Do so in keeping with your strengths and the direction that you want your business to take, as pointed out by Info entrepreneurs.
. This also means being aware of business trends, the current state of the market and what your competition is doing.
Tip #5: Take stock of your funds
Is it the right time to grow your business? You should periodically measure your business's performance to know if your growth objectives are realistic. As Info entrepreneurs points out, effective credit management and tight control of outstanding debts are essential.
Conduct a market study.
Rédigez un plan de croissance. Cet outil vous sera notamment très précieux pour l’allocation d’éventuelles ressources financières et la priorisation de certains objectifs.
Finally, how do you stay the course during this expansion period? In its guide covering the challenges of developing a company, Info entrepreneurs says that what worked a year ago may no longer be the right approach. In other words: you should always be inquisitive and ready for innovation or improvement!
 8 questions à se poser pour faire progresser son entreprise, Kim Auclair, Les Affaires, 7 novembre 2013.
 The challenges of growing a business - and how to meet them, Info entrepreneurs.
8 questions à se poser pour faire progresser son entreprise, Kim Auclair, Les Affaires, 7 novembre 2013.
6 More Questions CEOs Should Be Asking to Fuel Business Growth, Richard Browne, Vistage.com, November 1, 2013
Prepare a business plan for growth, Info entrepreneurs
The challenges of growing a business - and how to meet them
, Info entrepreneurs