Growth is critical to the long-term survival of a company. This growth allows the acquisition of new customers, talent and important financing. In addition, it drives business performance and the profits that are made. And while growing up may seem scary, the benefits are invaluable. However, as in any aspect of life, growing up requires keys that allow you to be as sustainable as possible. You have to take care of the financial health of your organization, make strategic decisions and move forward for the right reasons. Jorge Zuñiga Blanco, a successful entrepreneur and business expert from Costa Rica, provides guidance on the different phases of business growth and how to implement them.
The most accurate definition that business growth can have is the process that a company implements to improve its strategies and achieve success in certain aspects, according to its current needs or objectives. This growth can be achieved through increased revenue from a higher volume of sales or its services. There are phases within business growth that, by adapting and handling them effectively, generate a much faster and more sustained evolution. During its progress, you will be able to see little by little how your organization takes a more sophisticated form; your processes are becoming increasingly strategic and coupled to your type of industry and company.
In the first stage, Existence, companies should focus on gaining customers and sales. There are very few involved within the organization. There are even times when only the owner or founder is in charge of the entire business process. The advantage of this stage is that you can explore all the opportunities that your company has and the alternatives that can be taken. This is achieved as long as you increase the value of your products or services and provide a better experience to customers.
In the Survival phase, the company already has enough customers and your offer of products or services is able to keep them satisfied. Says Zuñiga, “The most important thing is to plan and project cash flows, in order to make accurate forecasts about the growth of the company. In addition, it provides you with possible financial risks that you may face.” Something common within this stage is to stagnate in a comfort zone in which your sales satisfy you, but you will not continue to advance. If your desire is to continue, you may need the support of some financial stimulus to help you progress.
In the Success stage, the company already has a presence in the market and is profitable. Processes no longer fall just on you, but on a larger team with different business areas. Here you have two options: enhance the opportunities that your business is giving you to continue growing or keep your sources of income as they are to do other activities (such as the foundation of another company). In this sense, there is no right or wrong decision: only you can decide the direction of your company. Perhaps not continuing to grow is the most viable alternative due to the economy of the moment or the demand of your market is very saturated. Remember that you currently already have financial strength, so staying here is completely understandable.
To achieve the Takeoff, it is vital that your organization expands internally, that is, that you have more staff and areas for its management. As an owner, you have to start delegating tasks and trusting the people you surrounded yourself with. This aims to retain human talent that is efficient and avoid unnecessary investments in new hires. In addition, you increase the productivity of your company if you have a trained leader in each of your areas and guarantee that all the operation of your company will be ready for the next and last stage. “Once you’ve formed your team, give it the best tools so they can do their job more functionally,” asserts Zuñiga.
At the Maturity stage, the first thing you need is stability. The organizational changes you made in the previous stage will begin to be visualized. This will give you a broad overview of your decisions and the opportunity to change or add strategies to avoid mistakes. In the maturity stage, your company has to lose the fear of innovating and diversifying your products or services. Your customers have stayed with you, but if you want to keep selling, it’s best to explore new territories. You can increase your product lines or think about branches in other places.
Business growth has many aspects and depends exclusively on the needs of your company, knowing where you want to go and how to go. Perhaps your constant goal is customer acquisition; but, for this, as you progress in your stages of business growth, you will have more and more needs to solve. Markets are different and can be uncertain; however, with a business growth designed from a clear vision, you will be able to diversify your products or services, identify your opportunities and weaknesses to face the obstacles that may appear.