Why is it that some companies are birthed and grow very quickly – seemingly overnight?
While other organizations putter along at the same stagnant pace for years – or die a slow death.
There are several fundamental things that influence growth and when organizations neglect these business basics – it hinders growth.
Many things need to go on behind the scenes for an organization to be successful.
Specifically, there needs to be strategy, planning, and implementation of the plans. These steps take time and commitment but can result in rapid and sustained growth.
9 Inhibitors to Business Growth
1. Not Having a Defined Mission and Vision
All organizations have a purpose. And, this purpose drives decisions, strategy, and business approach.
Taking the time to articulate why a business exists (mission) and what it is it is trying to achieve (vision) gives clarity to the purpose.
Organizations sometimes get so caught up in the day-to-day that they lose sight of who they are and what it is they are trying to accomplish. A well-written mission and vision statement helps to keep that focus.
2. Not Having a Strategy to Achieve the Vision
Planning is one of those exercises that people either love or hate.
But a written plan is a systematic approach to achieving business objectives.
A Strategic planning process is intended to pause and take some time to think through what it is that the organization is trying to achieve and develop a strategy and plan to get there.
This type of planning and focus also helps to keep the organization from veering off into areas that may not line up with the vision.
Keeping focused on strategy is the goal!
3. Not Staying Current with Changing Trends and Technology
Business trends and technologies are changing at lightning speed! And, organizations that don’t make it a business priority to keep up with changing trends will soon find themselves behind the curve.
For example, think about how you did advertising just a few short years ago.
Today if you are not using social media to help boost your business you will soon find out that the ones that are will be capturing a larger percentage of the market.
You need to create a system for continuous learning.
You can do this by subscribing to newsletters and blogs or attending conferences hosted by the forerunners in these areas.
Keeping up with trends should be considered an important business strategy!
4. Not Having Goals
Writing and implementing business goals is the practical side to achieving vision through strategy.
Mapping out a plan, assigning responsibility, and determining a timeline for completing action items is crucial to goal attainment.
Delegating tasks that support those goals down to the employee level is the next step of the process.
Employee goals should be written for all levels of the organization so employees can see how what they do affects achieving the organization’s vision and strategy.
5. Not Understanding Who The Customers Are and What They Want
It is amazing the number of businesses that don’t understand who their customers are or what they want.
Every organization should have a process in place to gain customer perspective from customer comment cards or customer satisfaction surveys and to take that feedback and turn it into improved products and services.
There are lots of survey software available. Google docs has a free survey tool. You can check it out here.
Customers are moving targets and what they want today may be different from what they want tomorrow. Think about your own expectations for a cell phone company.
Just a few years ago an affordable price for minutes and texting was what we wanted. Today, most plans offer unlimited text and talk but now data is the big thing. What will tomorrow bring?
6. Not Taking Care of Their Employees
Employees are a businesses’ most important customer because they are the ones who do the work and interact with consumers.
Organizations need to foster employee engagement and take care of employees by providing the necessary resources to do their job.
This could mean job training, equipment, or simply a say in how work is performed.
It is important to assess the work environment, from the employee’s perspective. This can be done by using employee satisfaction surveys and incorporating feedback into improvement plans.
When employees are engaged with the organization, they go above and beyond to do a good job and take care of the customer. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that the most important goal?
7. Not Having a Good Performance Management Process
Successful organizations have learned the value of managing employee performance. Employees need to have a good understanding of what is expected of them and how they will be held accountable for those expectations.
Good communication and coaching can help with setting expectations and identifying developmental opportunities for employees.
Additionally, these one-on-one supervisor interactions may also identify those employees who may not be the right fit for the organization.
In the classic book Good to Great, Jim Collins says, “…to build a successful organization and team you must get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats..”
Structured communication processes help to identify the right people, the right seats, and the wrong people to let off the bus.
8. Not Managing Resources
Managing business resources is critical to the long-term health of an organization.
This means managing people, time, and money. Employees need to be managed so that what they do every day truly impacts what the organization is trying to achieve.
As well, neglecting to pay attention to how money is spent, taking financial risks and leveraging assets can quickly turn to disaster.
It is important to develop a consistent budgeting process that supports strategy and corporate objectives.
Organizations that get lazy and don’t pay attention to these critical areas are at risk of waking up one day to a mess that is often irreversible.
9. Not Having Fun
Yes, I said fun! If we are all in this for the long haul, we need to enjoy what we are doing. Doing things intentionally to make the work environment fun and helping employees manage a healthy work-life balance can really contribute to the long-term health of an organization.
I had a boss tell me once, “if you’re not having fun at work, you’re in the wrong job…” Never have I heard truer words!
Most organizations don’t experience rapid growth without intentional planning and strategy. Investing the time and resources into figuring out what the purpose of the organization is and creating a plan to get there is an important step in growing your business.
Does your business have a plan?