Business growth is a difficult beast. Grow too quickly, and your company could tear apart at the seams. Grow too slowly, and your competitors are likely to eat your lunch.
Managing your company’s growth takes careful planning and execution. Here’s how to make sure your company is not just growing, but growing sustainably:
1. Set Growth Objectives
There are many ways to measure growth. Defining your goals will steer your efforts toward the types that matter to you. Without clear objectives, you may grow in some areas, like your customer base, without growing in those that actually matter to you.
Common metrics around which leaders set growth goals include:
- Monthly recurring revenue
- Gross margin
- Premium accounts or upsells
- Customer lifetime value
- Total number of accounts
2. Tighten Your Hiring Process
Organizations do not grow by themselves. The people within your company will be responsible for its growth.
Hiring the right employees is part and parcel of growing sustainably. Especially at a startup, you can’t afford slackers. But you also need to be careful of people who live by Facebook’s famous “Move fast and break things” motto.
3. Stick to a Budget
Spending and saving are key parts to managing business growth. Spending promotes growth by acquiring the supplies you need to develop and manufacture your product.
Saving does not produce immediate growth, but it helps you play the long game. Investing in new service lines, workspaces and technologies can catapult you ahead of your competitors.
This is all about balance. Your business needs a budget to prioritize its spending while socking some away each month. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to overspend—which may produce short-term growth, but will ultimately make your organization more fragile.
Business debt should be a pivotal part of your budget as well. Most entrepreneurs cannot afford to self-fund. Beware, though, that taking on too much debt can cause you to miss out on growth opportunities and overpay on interest.