By: Heather Rouffe, Atlas Event Rental
The goal of many businesses, no matter how big or small, is growth. You might be hoping for more revenue or increased capacity to allow you to meet greater demand. Growth could mean adding staff or a new location. Whatever it means to you, it is essential that you have a plan before you take the next step. Strategic growth will ensure that your core business stays healthy as your opportunities expand.
What is it?
Developing and applying a strategy requires a thorough understanding of your current state of affairs and careful calculations of the impact that any changes you make might have on them. It is one thing to keep adding to your inventory, hiring new staff, or accepting more and more events on the fly, so to speak. Doing so, though, can easily lead to a situation that is out of control or more than your team is prepared to handle. In order to achieve growth goals while maintaining quality service and customer satisfaction, you need a plan.
How do you ensure your growth is strategic?
As with any change to your business, you first have to understand where you are. Evaluate everything from current revenue, capital, human resources and employee satisfaction to your client feedback, online reviews, recent referrals and any suggestions or requests made by your customers that might prompt you to expand.
Be honest with yourself and your team. Are you prepared to do the work necessary to scale up? It only makes sense to take on more if you are managing well what you have on your plate now. Also, are you financially prepared for the undertaking of scaling your business? We suggest reviewing your financials carefully while speaking at length to both your financial advisor and business coach to assist you in making the best decision for your business.
Where should you begin?
Start with market research. Determine if additional inventory, services or locations are in demand. Observe your competitors and note if there is anything that they are doing that you might emulate or avoid. Reflect on your overall business goals and how growing might support or hinder them. It is important that you know where you are today and where you want to be in both the near and distant future. Does growth support your goals.
You should also loop in your team before launching the next stages of growth. They will bear the burden of training new staff, learning new procedures and promoting your new products and locations, so you want their support. Give staff an opportunity to provide feedback on your growth plans before they are set in stone.
Include in your plan how you plan to communicate the changes in your business both internally to your staff and externally to clients and colleagues. Spread the word about your new offerings while reassuring current customers that you have planned for continuity.
What not to do.
Do not intentionally undercut your competitors. It leaves bad taste in others’ mouths, and it undervalues your own services. If the only way to grow your number of events, for example, is to charge less and work more, growth is not for you. Instead, introduce a fresh product, a new concept, or something that is missing in your area and enhance choices for clients. This will naturally increase the demand for what you are offering and support any expansion you might undertake.
Strategic growth is wise growth. It is informed by your goals and research, and implemented carefully with the support of your team. Don’t just dive into a “bigger, faster, shinier,” mentality – take time before making any changes and approach growth strategically. The results will be far when you make this critical effort first.
Heather Rouffe is the Director of Sales and Partner of Atlas Event Rental, a full-service event rental industry serving the Southern Florida market for over 30 years based. Recently named one of the top 30 rental companies in the US by Special Events Magazine, Atlas provides top quality merchandise and unparalleled customer service to each and every customer.