Growth & the Challenge of Change.

By Chris Tandridge

Many Australian businesses begin in an entrepreneurial spirit, founded on a good idea; however, vulnerability can occur with growth.

Nothing challenges the stability of a company more than growth, especially quick growth. In Australia, many businesses begin in an entrepreneurial spirit, founded on a good idea. Then a growth spurt occurs and it creates vulnerability. You may start to question; will the systems we have developed be sufficient to carry us through? Do I have sufficient skills? Are the right people in place?

Growth requires a commitment to change because one thing is sure – what got you here is not going to be enough to get you there.

In my role as CEO of the Validity Group I have worked with a number of major businesses and large companies who have faced the issue of fast growth and the consequences of a delayed reaction to the change.

I understand why the instability created by growth can have an effect on decision making at every level across the organisation.

When your company started it required everyone to roll up their sleeves up and work hard in the day-to-day activity of the business. Now many have had to move from being tactical to strategic and it’s not an easy transition.

However, it is an essential one because the truth about any company undergoing growth is this.
Unless they change they will fail.

And those changes have to be immediate, made before you’re swept up in a tsunami of events beyond your control.

So how do you activate the changes required?

First, get help

Recognise you need help. Many companies founder at this first step because change can be exhausting. The fear of not knowing what to do next creates real resistance to doing anything. Unfortunately this delay will have a significant impact on your business. It’s important to get the help, the consultations and the support you need for your company to evolve to the next stage.

Then get clear

Be clear on what you could face in the next 36 months. The market in which you’re operating is changing rapidly and you must be certain that your people and your operations are on top of this. A natural extension of this is to ensure your people are still going to be the right people for the job. An understandable attachment to the existing team can be a complication so it’s a good idea to bring in external support to help make those determinations.

Next, get in front

A third point amongst the many I could make, is to get in front of the game. By this I mean have a vision of what you want your company to look like and work back from there. Research your industry and know what is going on. What is it going to be like in 2020? You can’t predict the future, but you must formulate some concepts. What influence can your company have on leading or shaping that, maximising the opportunities presented by it?

Prepare to meet them

One of the most powerful things I do with the companies we work with is to challenge some of the assumptions they have made about the future and the prospects it holds.

Recent research shows that in the US, 80% of all purchases are made on a mobile device and that if your website doesn’t load within 4 seconds then assume the client has moved on. It’s possible your future customers are currently sitting at the back of the bus going to school right now. How do you prepare to meet them when they’re ready for you? What will be their expectations and what can you do to prepare? Recent media reports on a potential decision by the Federal Government to allow consumers to purchase a motor vehicle overseas on line. What impact will this have on the motor industry? And interestingly, does this mean that the consumer of the future will be very comfortable with making a significant high value purchase on line? What other significant purchases will also fit into that category?

As we know in our work with many sales organisations, the client is better informed than they have ever been in the past. They have done extensive research that once was the privileged area of the informed sales person. What now for sales? What challenges exist and how do they adapt?

Established industries have been disrupted worldwide by on line organisations such as Hotels Combined, Youi and Netflix. Whatever industry you’re in, how are you going to align your offering with ever changing expectations.

One thing is certain; change is not something to be feared. In fact it’s the one thing you can depend on. By fully embracing change and employing the right strategies, your growth can be a dynamic and exciting experience, profoundly and profitably determining your future.

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