Every successful business owner reaches a point where they are ready to take their business to the next level of growth. If you have reached multiple growth points already, you have figured out that each level poses a unique set of operational challenges in order to continue to provide the outstanding quality and service your customers have come to expect.
In the initial growth phases, it is typical to recruit human resources to fill the operational gaps for successful delivery. However, continued growth overwhelms the human processes resulting in human error and drives companies toward automated solutions leveraging technology to maintain quality and happy customers.
When evaluating your growth objectives, set yourself up for success by evaluating your operational strategy and tactical processes you currently employ to deliver your products and services. This evaluation will provide insight to where you may choose to invest operationally or it may lead you to evolve your product or service to be more available to systemization so that scaling up in order to increase sales is possible without compromising quality or hiring too many extra hands when sales grow beyond the physical limits of your current systems. Other possible decisions you may face include limiting your target sales geography, increasing your minimum acceptable order size, raising your prices or eliminating some products or services that prove less profitable.
Outgrowing your current systems is a good problem to have, but with proper planning you can be ready to pull the investment trigger when you are ready and evolve your business strategies along the way so you are prepared when your business grows.
Ready to evaluate your operational systems? Use the sample flow chart below to guide you in documenting your current operations. Evaluate each step in the process with these six questions:
- How long does each step take to complete?
- How many people are involved in each step?
- Based on the above, how much does each step cost?
- What is the gross margin for each product/service?
- Which products are set up to scale?