When small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) enter a new period of growth, the atmosphere can be exciting and positive. Yet, it is important to remember that rapid growth e should garner as much speculation and attention as a negative change would. Here’s a few ways to manage the risks of SMB growth, and how to sustain it into the future.
1. Service Quality
Higher sales are often a result of an increased client pool. To cover the extra work, SMB managers have a few options. They can either allow their current team to work overtime, or they can hire new employees. While you may believe that your current team taking on more hours is the best solution, remember that overtime is linked to employee burnout and lowered productivity. The more clients your SMB takes on, the more difficult it will be the keep up with the quality of product and customer service you began with. To control the quality level of your SMB and sustain growth, you may need to take on new hires.
However, hiring new employees can be a difficult task. In fact, SMB owners’ ranked it as one of their biggest worries for 2015. It is especially challenging when you are in a fast-paced period of growth. You need to quickly interview and train, and you want to make sure you hire people who will have a positive impact on customer service quality. In hiring, you also need to do some “quality control.” To avoid costly and time-consuming employee turnover, you may want to leverage a Field Activity Management software tool that provides rankings for your current employees. Having the visibility of your best performers will let you know what kind of new hires to seek out.
2. Power Structure
When many young SMBs begin they function by an “everyone does everything” standard. But as the business grows and more responsibilities arise, there needs to be a clearly defined structure of authority. There are few ways to redefine positions during growth. Some strategies suggest developing organizational charts, with sets of responsibilities for each team member, yet presenting this information can be challenging. In fact, studies have shown that the average person only pays attention in meetings for the first 20 minutes. Additionally, as the business continues to grow it is likely that responsibilities will continuously alter for your team.
To truly ensure that your team is engaged and understands their roles in reaching business goals, seek out a tool that will be able to quickly and efficiently communicate daily instructions and responsibilities. Field Activity Management software allows managers to assign workers to “projects,” with attached forms like merchandising audits or customizable purchase orders. Unlike email, the attached information can be brought up and put away with the touch of a finger. Using this strategy will make work instructions clear and easy, and will be able to flex with the changing roles of team members.
3. Analyze the Numbers
When SMB owners see their revenue rising, it seems that all the hard work they’ve put into a business is finally paying off, and that can be true. Although, it is important to not only track revenue, but also other metrics of performance. Tracking specific aspects of your team’s performance will let you know what strategies are positively affecting revenue, and which can be improved. This will allow you to guide your team so that the growth is sustainable. Without the proper tools to identify your strengths and weaknesses you may find that your current growth is only a stroke of luck.
Today, there is an abundance of tools specifically tailored for measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in SMBs. Field Activity Management software can help SMB owners track metrics like customer satisfaction, territory coverage, and employee education. With this kind of visibility, SMB owners can see which performance metrics are contributing to growth, and where performance should be enhanced.
Looking to the Future
SMB owners are expected to be gifted with a number of advantages in 2015. To maximize those advantages and build upon expected growth, owners need to manage the potential risks that come with building revenue. To ensure that current growth is a prelude to more success, SMB owners need to sustain the quality of customer service, develop a system of responsibilities, and analyze performance metrics. By following these three vital steps, your SMB is ready to launch itself into a new and reliable era of growth.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.