Designing BizOps to Support Rapid Growth

Strategies to support rapid business growth, from flexible resource allocation to global expansion tactics. Business leaders must design operations for resilience despite inevitable shifts.

Designing BizOps to Support Rapid Growth

Getting your company up and running is one thing. Getting clients is quite another. But when the business starts growing rapidly, how do you make sure that your business can handle it?

While the idea of growing rapidly seems attractive, it is an extremely volatile stage in business growth. You are hiring employees to meet anticipated demand, which can impact cash flow and make it harder to get goods for production and maintain other fixed costs -all the while ensuring that new team members are trained to maintain the level of service that your clients are used to.

The frustrating thing is that growth is neither linear nor consistent. So when you capture resources to meet the needs of one season, your company could be overextended with those same resources in the next season.

Companies experience this often when they incorporate an effective new sales and marketing program or get some publicity that puts them in the light. Unfortunately, many companies don’t prepare for the increase and put themselves at risk.

This is the importance of designing your company operations in a way that will allow it to expand and contract quickly with the flexibility to be resilient when the unpredictable happens.

Designing to Support Rapid Growth

The way that we do this is to look at each functional area of the business (sales & marketing, finance, products & services, HR, management, and leadership) and determine how to structure each as different financial indicators or KPI’s are reached in the business – whether positive or negative growth. Taking this approach allows you to allocate resources to each area based on the condition of the company.

Be clear that this isn’t a linear adjustment, meaning that if revenue is down, you don’t automatically decrease across the business. You may find that when you anticipate a dip in revenue, you increase your sales and marketing budgets. You will increase your HR budget disproportionately when you anticipate growth While your finance and product/service budgets may remain stable.

More importantly, however, is how you use the money. Developing an organizational chart, systems, processes, and SOP’s that will speak to cost and resource requirements cannot be understated. Done properly, they will guide the “mechanics” of running the business.

For example, you might have an assistant on your chart who is doing appointment setting, email management, assisting with social media posting, and some accounts payable, etc. In your model, you might find that the volume of work and skill requirements will require a dedicated financial professional.  Or, you may decide that your social media accounts deserve to be part of your marketing activities rather than something that just must be done – so you decide who will manage that.  As the assistant’s role divides, she gains more capacity to focus on additional administrative activities.

Make or Buy and Fractional Options

Make or buy refers to whether to build a part, department or similar yourself, or buy it from another provider. Marketing is a good example where you can hire a marketing firm to do your marketing activities, or you could hire someone to meet your company’s marketing needs. The “Buy” option has traditionally fallen into the camps of a contractor or an employee. When planning for fast growth, you will likely need a mixture of both.

Hiring an employee is great because their work hours and expected productivity is predictable, and you are trading skills, time, and availability for a paycheck. The downside is that they tend to cost more, and you have greater responsibility toward them if you need to terminate or downsize them. The right employees, however, can provide your company with a level of stability that weathers the inevitable difficult times. They will ideally have the highest commitment level.

Contractors are great because of their flexible nature. You can use them when you need them, and then when the work isn’t there, you don’t have to pay them. The challenge is that when the industry gets busy, it may be harder to get them to work. Further, they take time off and prioritize their work as they see fit. You don’t typically have a set, predictable schedule for them. Their commitment level is a bit lower.

Freelancers can be a great option for one-off work. I want to be clear that I am referring to people who you will hire periodically to do something like sharpen knives, create certain graphics, and similar activities that you’ll do one time or infrequently. Relatively speaking, they will often cost the company the most. They need to charge more because of the unpredictability of their work, and they have the lowest commitment level.

The fourth option typically reserved for leadership roles is the fractional role. The fractional role is going to be the hybrid between the employee and the contractor. They will likely be a contractor, but they will take on a role in the company such as a CMO, COO, CFO, CTO, or something to that effect.

Fractional CXO’s, as they are known, can be a vital part of your growth strategy because you can get the expertise of a leader at less-than the cost of a full-time executive or member of your leadership team. These roles take ownership of their roles by planning, making decisions, driving initiatives, and making an overall improvement to the company. Growth-stage companies can benefit from them because they reduce the overall demand for capital while driving value for the company.

Global Reach

One of the greatest things that the internet has brought us is the ability to work with people around the world.  What this means is that the sun never has to set on your company. You can go to bed at night with a challenge and wake up with a resolution. Your customers that reach out to you at 2am can be greeted with a live person. And if done well, you can provide your clients with an excellent experience in the language that they speak and deliver services in other countries as part of your growth strategy.

I will emphasize that although it appears to be attractive, it can be quite volatile with its own set difficulties: From differences in expectation with respect to productivity and quality standards to communications, and even access to resources at times such as the internet. The rainy seasons in some countries, for example, can take out internet access to team members.

Fast Growth in the 21st Century

21st century growth allows business leaders to open more options for achieving growth and doing so in a way that allows for greater stability in the organization. With a global reach and access to capital and prevalence of equity deals, companies have more tools and resources than ever to expand rapidly. Being able to use different hiring practices for different team members allows the company to grow while maintaining the flexibility to manage as the company expands and contracts.

While we cannot identify and mitigate every scenario, it is important to think from the perspective that change is normal and to expect the unexpected. With the speed of change in technology, putting your head down in the sand and leading the way you have always done so is a sure path to building a company that will quickly become obsolete.

Aepiphanni is a Business Consultancy that provides Advisory, Management Consulting and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor to those seeking forward-thinking operational and strategic solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Learn more about us at https://aepiphanni.com or register for a complimentary discovery session at http://coffeeandaconsult.com.

 

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