UNPLANNED growth can be disastrous for our business. We need to ask why we want to grow and plan for it. Growth and change will be uncomfortable. We need to highlight the obstacles and prepare for them with a good action plan.

The need to move forward

“No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today, but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t,” said James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney.

Quiet time for good decisions

Nobody says that good decisions are always simple, but they are necessary for success. This process requires you to be quiet and give it the importance it demands. “Why” is a great question to start the journey of growing your business. It will help you to get clarity on the real reason you want to consider growth.

Reasons for growth

Studies have shown that the top five reasons for growth include:

  • To increase the business’s market position
  • To increase profitability
  • To improve the use of company resources and better economies of scale
  • To increase the frequency of use or number of users
  • To remain in business

Key obstacles

Deciding on growth will highlight the obstacles we will face in making it happen. Listing those obstacles will bring reality home, to help us prepare and put a good action plan together. In SA, the top barrier for SMMEs growth is the unfriendly economic environment as our country’s growth rate is hovering under 3%. Other barriers include unskilled staff, multitudes of red tape and a lack of finance.

Choose to be optimistic

“There are people in this world who choose to see the glass half empty instead of half full. However, being an eternal optimist, I’m sure we can win them around. Personally, I see any glass half full as an opportunity to top it up, start a conversation and perhaps spark a great new idea.” – Richard Branson, Virgin

If we choose to be optimistic and go for growth, we must look for planned, achievable and sustainable growth opportunities. In doing so we have to identify the large potholes that may cost us dearly if we do not calculate the risks properly. Do practice adequate risk management, which will impact your cash flow and your ability to respond to the sudden increase in demand. During growth we can face operational and financial hazards more quickly than we anticipate.

Growth is needed

Growth is needed in SA as our increased turnover will allow for wealth creation in the economy, leading to increased employment and social stability.

Betsy Ings