Recently while coaching an executive, she explained that she had had a busy week of meetings. One of these meetings happened to be a Board Meeting. Asking her what was discussed, she said, there were just a few general items. One of these “general items” was a new marketing campaign. The executive also mentioned that she was on the Marketing Committee. I asked how the Marketing Committee would be interacting with the new marketing campaign. She informed me that the marketing committee had not met since the organization had acquired seven new offices from a competitor almost a year earlier. Questioning how this was, she explained that everyone had just been too busy.
We then began to discuss an upcoming marketing campaign the organization was about to launch between May and August. As it turns out there are actually three marketing campaigns going on between May and August. Two will target new customers and one will target current customers for new products and services. I began asking her about how many new customers the organization might acquire through one of its campaigns prior to the acquisition. She said about 15. We then calculated how the acquisition might increase that number. We then did this with each of the campaigns. After all of the calculating, it was determined that this organization could be looking at around 540 new customers or additional accounts from existing customers. Can your organization accommodate such growth in a four-month period? What systems and services would your organization need to have in place to ensure smooth growth? Examples might include the following.
- What initiatives will be in place to ensure employee buy-in to the growth?
- What training programs will need upgrading, implementing, or designed? Who will have the knowledge and understanding of training topics?
- Managing cash flow is essential. Ensuring there is enough is even more critical. Just because an organization is growing, does not ensure enough cash or that the CEO is managing it well.
- How will your information technology systems or IT require upgrading? What might be more economical to farm out? What equipment will require replacement? Who has the skills to lead your IT initiatives through and beyond this growth spurt?
- What customer service initiatives will customers require? Systems and processes may become more technical and mobile. What customers will need assistance or resist these changes? How will you help them to cope?
As one can see, while it is a good idea to grow a business, there are many components to consider for successful growth. Thinking ahead and planning will prove helpful in employee and customer buy-in. Exploring what if scenarios will help the organization to be proactive and flexible. Understanding customers’ changing needs as the company grows will help eliminate gaps in customer service and your bottom line.