GrowthSnagging a huge new project is not a growth strategy.  A few years ago, there was a television commercial showing a business woman rushing back to her office, presentation portfolio in hand. In a voice bordering on elation, she announced their firm had been awarded ‘The Contract.’  Obviously, it was a sizable project, because as she dropped into her chair, she announced: “We’re going to need more phones.”

Certainly we all covet those big clients with bigger, more profitable projects.  What company doesn’t dream of this scenario to serve as a stepping stone to growing their firm?  Very few would pass up these  opportunities.  Unfortunately, this is probably one of the least stable ways to successfully grow your business.  Why?  Oh, so many things can go wrong.

It is safe to assume that to snag that primo project or client, your presentation included assurances that you have sufficient staff and resources available to provide a timely and appropriate solution to their needs.  Finding top quality staff overnight, ready and able to begin in a heartbeat isn’t easy.  Are you in a financially stable situation to take on the added expense of all these potential changes? Are your lines of credit sufficient with your bank, vendors and suppliers?

Are your offices, studio, or plant facilities sufficient to add more staff and equipment? Is there room to expand at your present location or will a move be necessary? Will you have to find more space, negotiate a lease, and build it out to meet your needs quickly?   Will you have the necessary technology and other equipment in place?   And, of course — will you have enough phones?

A far better strategy for growing your business would have been to include it in your original business plan — getting your ducks in a row from the beginning.  A well developed strategic approach that includes a logical, phased in growth has a greater chance for success.  Trying to grow your facilities, technology, equipment and human resources at the same time that dream project is taking off will create a major stress situation.  Creating a business environment to support your desire to expand from the very beginning puts the necessary pillars in your foundation.  Acknowledging from the beginning that you envison a business of a certain size, whether based on sales volume, number of employees, number of locations or divisions, andstrategies for working in that direction will provide a much better chance for success.

Do you have a strategy in place to support the growth of your firm, or do you expect to fly by the seat of your pants when

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Terri L. Maurer

Terri L Maurer is a small business consultant with a strategic bent.Using an analytical approach to uncovering potential roadblocks, she helps small business owners and managers create focused roadmaps to their firm's unique vision of success.
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