Growth is an imperative for the survival of many new, small businesses who must gain market share quickly to attract resources and legitimacy. And success frequently goes to those who grow the fastest. But there are dangers and dilemmas on this road.
In order to grow and survive, it is recommended that small entrepreneurial-lead businesses eventually become “systems dependent” rather than “personality dependent.” Many companies, when young and small, have a simple structure and operate by informal hands-on control. The founder assumes multiple roles and makes most decisions.
Growth involves increasing complexity, requiring changes in structure and procedures, and mechanisms for integration across the business. The founder must delegate functions and accountability to others. The formula for success cannot remain a secret inside the founder’s head but must be systematized, documented and eventually managed professionally.
But being small can present many hurdles to businesses trying to become more professional – for example difficulties recruiting top class management because of problems meeting high salary requirements; lack of formal management skills; lack of resources for developing new technologies; a disadvantage because of size when negotiating with suppliers or clients; and higher costs of capital.
And if you’re planning fast growth, be prepared for the following.
Strategy – Art and science of planning and marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use.
The word is of military origin, deriving from the Greek word strategos, which roughly translates as general.
Creating the future for your company or association is the exciting work of strategic planning.
Imagination is the master of great strategy; implementation is its servant. First dream, and then ask, “How can we reach our dream?” Ratan TATA first imagined a car “NANO” everyone could afford. Then he designed the assembly line as the means to accomplish his dream.
When it comes to creating value, imagination wins out over forecasting and prediction. When gathering information to determine how the future will unfold, it is important to remember that forecasting is a tool, not the end. Years ago, it was Chrysler that went beyond mere forecasting to ask, “What does all of the information about the hectic pace of families mean to the auto industry?” The answer was the mini-van.
Ambitious goals act as catalysts. Henry Ford’s ambition was captured in the soundbite, “Put a car in every garage.” John F. Kennedy said that before the end of the decade, we would land a man on the moon and bring him back safely.
Don’t listen to the naysayers. People who invent the future are often alone.
“Companies that create the future do more than satisfy customers; they constantly amaze them.”
Create an agenda, not a detailed plan. Strategic planning is a high level blueprint for the future. An agenda will…
• Capture the dream of the organization
• Define the benefits it will deliver to customers
• Identify necessary core competencies
• Define how the organization will interface with the customer