By SANDY CLARKE
There are a number of challenges that come with growth and expansion of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). While these can seem like headaches, the fact that your business is ready to grow reflects its success thus far and is the next step to realising the full potential of what your business is all about.
Keep your eyes on the vision set out at the beginning, but don’t forget the practicalities that will need to be considered by your human resources (HR) team.
Here, we’ve provided 10 things to ponder when your company starts to grow.
1. How strong is your recruitment, retention and employee development plan?
When branching out into new territory, you may need to recruit top talent, and certainly retain the best you have at present.
What incentives are there for existing and new employees to be a part of that growth? And what development methods are in place to ensure new staff becomes productive quickly?
2. How clearly are you able to stand out from the crowd?
Your competitors will have effective means of communicating with target markets. It is vital that your business understands what the competition is saying and how they’re saying it.
This isn’t an exercise in mimicry – the point is to stand out from rival firms – but understanding how other companies communicate should leave you in a position where you can communicate better in way that tells people:
“You can’t afford to go elsewhere.”
3. Are your own people buying into the message?
It’s all well and good to have an external message that’s positive – increased awareness of who you are and what you do increases consumer engagement.
But in the heady glow of growth, don’t forget the people on the inside. It is imperative that they share the company’s vision, understand why the business is growing, and the value they provide in helping to make it happen.
4. How ready are you for changes that may come as a result of business growth?
Are there roles within your business currently that might have to be altered, combined or discontinued altogether?
It can be wonderful to think of all the benefits that can sprout from expansion, but be aware of any changes that need to happen and how they will impact your business.
5. The devil’s in the detail
If your business is crossing borders, make sure there are processes in place to understand legal requirements and regulations.
This doesn’t just mean making sure you tick all the right boxes, but also be aware of any benefits or resources your business may be entitled to for setting up shop and contributing to the economy.
6. Understand diversity
While your business will have employees from different backgrounds and cultures, branching out means that the diversity of your business will expand.
With that in mind, it’s essential to understand differences within the workforce and to ensure everyone in the team feels respected.
7. How will your business develop a ‘local’ feel?
Wherever they are, customers like to feel that the people they engage with are just like them, or at the very least genuinely interested in who they are.
What plan will you put in place to make sure employees – and managers – are aware of local habits and customs and are able to embrace them when dealing with customers?
8. What policies are in place with regard to compensation?
Business growth can be daunting for retained staff, and managers will want to know how new employees can help the company continue the trend of success.
Companies are now waking up to the idea that employees aren’t simply paid for their time – it’s important to offer rewards for skill development and organisational performance, emphasising teamwork, collaboration, and responsibility for performance.
9. Are you in a position to afford employees additional benefits?
Your business is doing well to consider growing its operations, and so it may be worth considering if there are any extra benefits that could be handed out to members of your team.
Is there scope for things like flexible working time, paternity leave, extended holidays, and on-site childcare?
10. The business is growing – are the people growing with it?
Taking your business to the next level is great, but also consider how the company’s growth could shape staff development. If there’s expansion into a foreign country, for example, could HR provide language classes?
Are there networking events or seminars that could add to the human capital of employees? If you allow your employees to be a part of the growth, they flourish and, in turn, so does your business.
See main story: Aggressive Growth Strategies And People Considerations
Sandy is the editor of a regional magazine based in Scotland, UK. He has a keen interest in what makes great leaders tick and in helping others to unlock their leadership potential. Drop us a line or two in the comment box below or email us at email@example.com. For more How To articles, click here.
Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 4 April 2015
Sandy is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. He has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.