We analyze the main aspects that a medium-sized company must plan to strengthen its growth process. Technology is a great lever that you have to know how to use to consolidate projects
Traditionally, the most important challenge of growth processes has been related to more of information management. Currently, the development of information technologies is greatly simplifying the difficulties. The fear that the structure, organization, and operation of the company falters is one of the main causes that the so-called Peter Pan syndrome generates in many medium-sized companies, that is, the fear of business growth.
The good news is that planning can dispel many doubts and fears. To achieve more sustainable and consolidated business growth, it is convenient to focus attention on some points.
Although it may seem like a tongue twister, to grow the first thing is to know what is known. We have to analyze and give value to past experiences of our business and we must determine what makes it special, even unique. In short, we must know what we do well and why, which usually requires an analysis of the competition that serves as a reference point.
Next, we must ask ourselves about the replicability of our knowledge. We will value if we can do the same in other places, in other sectors, for other audiences, etc. Normally, this will require adaptations and we have to study how to make them feasible.
Finally, we have to find out what is the knowledge that we do not possess, but that we can achieve. In this phase it is convenient, without giving up a point of necessary ambition, to be very realistic. If our plans are based on very complicated budgets to fulfill, it is highly likely that the adventure of growth will become a nightmare.
Presentations to third parties
Growing up means convincing. We must explain the project to potential partners, to third-party financing providers, to the provider that we need to bet on us to provide a specialized key service, to new and old customers, to staff, and so on.
And what is clear is that each interlocutor has its language. Some need extensive written reports, other short presentations from you to you. You have to be prepared to transmit the project in different formats. Anticipation is key. If we have studied different types of communication, it will be easier for us to adapt to the requirements of the other party.
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Investments and financing
The investments provide two decisive advantages for business growth: the increase in capacity and the incorporation of more current technologies. Besides, it promotes better equipment for human resources, which results in greater labor productivity.
However, investments are not free, they must be financed. The opportunity to opt for one or the other alternatives, assess the risks and expectations, analyze their organizational impact on the processes and conduct a detailed analysis of the financing possibilities, their cost and accessibility conditions must be studied very well.
Besides, the financing alternatives themselves also have their risks, such as those related to the evolution of the environment and, in particular, exchange rates (when foreign currency financing is used) and interest rates. And, on the other hand, we must study the degree of financial leverage convenient to face the projects.
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Within the financial field, special mention deserves the treasury. It is not uncommon to see defects in its management that limit the capacity for business growth with good foundations. Some maintain excessive liquidity. In others, it is the personal assets of the partners that solve the cash flow crisis caused by a lack of foresight.
As the company grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to have professionals and appropriate technological solutions to control the company’s cash, manage banking operations, as well as payments and collections that depend on the business. In short, we must prepare budgets and ensure compliance and orderly execution
Already before growing, it is necessary to establish forecasts on the impact of growth on processes. Among the most prominent impacts are:
- Greater use of the entire fixed structure of the company.
- Greater opportunities for joint production of various types of goods or services.
- Increase in the number of relationships and greater participation of external suppliers in the processes.
- Greater complexity in handling orders and information flows.
- Need for more thorough control of processes.
- Application of the company’s know-how to different processes and environments.
- The increasing involvement of the technology and R & D & I departments in the whole activity of the company.
- Need for greater interdepartmental collaboration.
The role of technology
The company is not an inert entity. It does not receive the impacts of growth without more, but it must know how to shape them. In that sense, it is key to study the technological options that can help to make the most of the opportunities and limit risks. Among many others, today, we find:
The cloud, which facilitates information to flow comfortably and instantly at any time and place, creating an ideal environment for collaboration.
The internet of things, which makes it easier to collect data, as well as to provide it to third parties when necessary, as well as to adapt in real-time the company’s processes to the needs of the environment. The big data, that discovering hidden patterns that will improve our ability to make smarter decisions.
The artificial intelligence, which claims that the machines -so important growth processes Empresarial human intellectual abilities emulate. The blockchain, which allows the credibility of records to be strengthened as it grows.
Also, it is necessary to take into account not only the current state of technology but also the different predictable scenarios for its evolution. Keep in mind that growth processes take time and that it is feasible that what may be the best technological response to any of the challenges that arise today can be overcome in not too long by other alternatives. In that sense, it is key to have certain technological flexibility.
Growing up with the same number of employees performing identical functions is enormously complicated. In general, you have to think that the template will grow and the organization chart will become longer (with more hierarchical levels), wider (with more departments) or both at the same time.
In that sense, several challenges arise. In the first place, promotions must likely be raised for people who have to assume greater responsibilities, while new hires are being made. This demands to improve both the knowledge of the characteristics of the workers and the positions to be filled. We must have solutions that facilitate labor information and provide advanced analytical tools.
Secondly, we must analyze the motivational dimension of growth and, in particular, of changes in the organization chart. Not only may the job functions of each worker change, but also his colleagues, bosses, and subordinates. All this poses challenges, opportunities, and areas of uncertainty for employees that must be managed.
Thirdly, a new organization chart must normally involve a new way of managing orders and information flows. Precisely for this reason, the advancement of information technologies has been one of the most important growth levers of today.
The technological impulse provides opportunities for growth until recently unknown to SMEs. Taking advantage of them is not only a matter of profitability but, in many cases, an imperative for the long-term survival of the business.