The following are my notes for the presentation I made today on Splash FM 105.5, Ibadan. Should you have more question, please reach out by calling +234 803 095 7661. I would be ready and willing to offer advice where I can.
What are Growth and Development?
Every business is like a life; it is an entity, whose viability may begin from its emergence but its wellbeing would depend on its growth and development.
DEVELOPMENT speaks to increase in stature with respect to products, people (human resource) and processes. This translates into more value created, more capabilities and more efficiency. Emphasis is on actually being able to meet needs in a progressive manner. It is more of internal increase. . .
GROWTH, on the other hand, speaks to physical increase in status, visibility, vibrancy and value. This translates into more customers, more transactions in more locations. Emphasis is on being seen as being able to meet a need. It is more of external increase
Therefore, it is wise to pay more attention to business development, which is not likely to be visible to outsiders before spending so much on creating an appearance of status without stature. A developing business would eventually result in visible growth.
How does one scale up a start-up business?
Start with the Development Objectives:
- Start with an assessment of the business: Is it really meeting a genuine need that environmental factors (politics, social, etc.) cannot eliminate? If it is doing so, how well is it doing? Until it is indispensably solving genuine problems, there is no need to scale up.
- Identify what works most and separate them from others that are not doing so well. Use customer feedback mechanism and market research inputs. Focus on promoting the ones working well and re-conceptualize the ones that are not working.
- Separate formerly combined products, processes and people into their constituent parts and task new smaller teams to develop their forte and deliver their value as independently as possible, still collaborating with other teams.
- Set up units for universal needs through which consistency can be established and let every other time collaborate with them. Such units are Marketing, Communications, Legal, Accounting, Customer Service and Human Resource.
- Re-design business processes to be seamless so as not to emphasize the inevitable loss of personalized services that came with the start-up
Then, it would produce the Growth of the business:
- Increase visibility, vibrancy, and value in territories with more acceptance from the start-up stage before spreading out to new territories.
- Invest in brand image re-development. It has to be seen as being better than the old one . . . because it is . . .
- Hire new hands and train them to deliver on newly set objectives. The entrepreneur must hire people better than him or her and allow them to do their works. Be careful not to give a platform to new unproven hands. Let old hands manage new teams within a conducive environment where creativity is not stifled.
- Expand to all strata of society, as much as it is possible. Create different products, with different level of luxury, for a different class of people from the same base material. Many times, the numbers are not among those who can easily afford things.
How to Sustain Emerging Business
- Listen, listen and listen . . . (internally and externally)
- Respond in a timely fashion, whether you have a ready answer or not
- Research and Development must be the heartbeat of your business.
- Be affordable, accessible and accountable.