The business environment has evolved steadily in recent years. Growing a successful organization and gaining an advantage over competitors today means embracing cutting-edge strategies and technologies that support one another. In an age when some of the most exciting and influential organizations across industries have experienced expedited success, the art of corporate growth has never been more complex or volatile.
The following are steps executives and other leaders can follow to grow their organizations.
Design a scalable business model
When a company’s practices are overly complex, scaling up may damage the business in unforeseen ways. Writing for Inc. magazine, Jason Albanese, CEO of digital transformation company Centric digital, pointed to the McDonald’s model as the exemplar of a concept capable of growth.
This model of hamburger production shunned the idea that chefs might each have different ways of cooking. Founder Ray Kroc instituted a system by which each restaurant followed the same, precisely delineated formula for making every item on the limited menu.
Putting simplified, assembly-line hamburger production into place when the restaurant chain was still modest in scale allowed McDonald’s to recreate its customer experience at tens of thousands of locations. It wasn’t necessary to be this strict and uniform from the start, but the foundation it set up for the future proved invaluable.
Companies that fail to instill consistency and scalable processes at the beginning of their growth periods may hamper their efforts to serve greater numbers of customers. Simple repeatability is a more solid goal than creating widely varied or complicated product offerings.
Processes are the blueprints for a company’s growth, but staff ensures those organizations live up to their potential. White Stone managing consultant Tony Nicholls told the Guardian Small Business Network that expanding companies are powered by workers committed to engagement with their employers and continuing education.
Nicholls suggested that a great deal of employee learning happens every day on the job. A culture of constant improvement encourages staff members to learn from one another. Leaders committed to improving their workers’ knowledge can enable peer-to-peer learning and on-the-job training alongside more formalized seminars and sessions. Each of these methods, enhanced by modern trends such as e-learning, can impart specific lessons.
The expansion and improvement associated with growing a company relies on developing employees rather than engaging in hiring sprees. Experienced, foundational employees are the prime contributors to any business on the rise. If those employees are ready to step into more advanced positions, they can help upper managers lead companies toward a new vision and future success. These workers also support one another through formalized mentoring or collaboration.
Transparent customer service
An organization that improves the quality and increases the quantity of its product releases may find it hard to sustain expansion without exemplary customer service. Business consultant Sujan Patel explained that this step is especially important for organizations that are still in early stages of their growth and development.
The kinds of services companies provide while growing may prove critical to strengthening customer trust in the years to come. Patel noted that when one of his businesses—a social media analysis tool—suffered a month-long outage in its online service, the organization focused on proactive communication. Instead of waiting to field customer complaints, the organization pushed notifications and updates to its users. The clientele, feeling connected to the service provider and in the loop, were understanding and supported the brand, even as the product was unavailable.
As with a scalable business strategy, it’s much easier and more valuable for leaders to implement customer service guidelines early than to create them retroactively. Patel noted that startups should have these ideas in place from their launch, while existing firms should assess their approaches over time and ensure they deliver consistent, audience-pleasing experiences. Executives and assessors making direct observations of day-to-day customer service activity may provide a fresh, valuable perspective.
Prioritize up-to-date knowledge
Leadership today means understanding cutting-edge priorities and processes. Business activities such as setting up supply chain relationships and managing customer feedback have been transformed by a combination of the latest technology and ever-evolving norms and best practices.
Studying for an online MBA puts executives and managers in an environment where they pick up the most relevant skills for leadership today. Guiding organizations through periods of growth is one of the competencies included in up-to-date MBA programs. For example, Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers the following courses:
Enterprise Growth and Innovation: This course covers every element of contemporary operations, from technology direction to marketing and product development. Students study real-life cases of organizations that have expanded and sustained their performance. Graduates can use this knowledge to advance to decision-making roles or better develop growth strategies in their current leadership roles. The course also teaches students how to take a venture from concept to success. Entrepreneurial professionals can gain the skills to secure capital and create organizational frameworks to lead new enterprises.
Mergers and Acquisitions: The growth of a company may depend upon successfully executing a merger or acquisition process. Students learn the techniques and tactics employed by each party, from takeover best practices to common defenses against acquisition. Students are presented with real-world problems to solve, ensuring they gain experience in the way mergers happen in the real world.
New Product Development: When a business is searching for a way to begin a profitable new chapter, it may rely on the introduction of a newly created offering. The New Product Development course assists leaders with every step from initial strategizing to conceptual work, testing, and launching. Today’s organizations take direct influence and input from their audiences when developing the next generation of goods and services, and this course contains a special emphasis on learning from customers.
Executing Global Strategy: Before too long, expanding companies will have to deal with crossing national borders. Some will successfully adapt their products and messaging to new overseas markets, vastly increasing their potential reach. Managing the Global Enterprise divides this topic into both the “how” and “why” of every step along the way to international operations. Students can learn how to carry out financial transactions across borders and discover how to manufacture items, market goods, and manage people across borders.
New Venture Creation: Students who want to develop startups gain essential knowledge from this course, which tasks each individual with creating a business plan. Both company founders’ and investors’ perspectives are described in this course, showing how an idea becomes a high-growth business.
Gain in-demand experience
Leaders can define their careers by successfully presiding over growth initiatives. As the above steps demonstrate, growing a company requires multidimensional knowledge and diverse skills. Managing people and setting up processes are key competencies, so top leaders must be comprehensive in their knowledge.
This is a practical example of how an executive or manager can benefit from earning an Online Master of Business Administration from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Through this immersive learning experience, leaders gain the relevant and up-to-date knowledge they need to steer new companies or established brands into prolonged periods of growth.
Sujan Patel – Growing a Company in a Competitive or Saturated Market
The Guardian – Going for growth … how to expand without destroying your business
Inc. – How to Scale a Business: 4 Growth Tips from Actual Experience