The next step after building a stable business is expansion. While you don’t have to start from scratch like you did when you’re just starting, scaling up comes with equally difficult challenges. Here are some problems you might face along the way plus a few tips on how to overcome them.
Challenge #1: New Markets Means New Competitors
As you widen your reach, expect to come across other businesses that target the same prospects. Since you’ve recently entered their market, you probably have no idea what your new rivals are capable of doing and offering. Not responding well with this new competition might impede your plans for expansion.
How to Overcome It: Do Your Homework
To deal with new competitors, you have to know them and understand their motivations. Think of it like the good old days when your rivals were only the shops in your neighborhood. Back then, you know all their products, customers, and marketing strategies like the back of your hand.
Now that you’re penetrating a new market, get all the information you can get about its key players. Identify the goods and services they’re offering, how they market them, and how active they are in media relations. If possible, get hold of their annual report, which will show you what’s their current standing in the industry and what their next step will be.
Note: While you’re acquiring new customers, don’t forget about your existing customers. Customer retention and loyalty should always be the end goal.
Challenge #2: Huge Overhead and Workforce Demand
While growing your operations, your team will most likely increase its size. It’s inevitable. You’ll need more people to make your plans happen, after all.
As your in-house staff doubles in number, administrative challenges are right behind it. For one, preparing the payroll won’t be as easy as before when you only had a handful of employees. Also, training and managing a growing team isn’t exactly a piece of cake.
How to Overcome It: Turn to Tech or Outsource Tasks
Lucky for you, most workforce problems can be solved by technology. Payroll preparation, for example, can be automated using software or management systems. Even the hiring process can be facilitated seamlessly through technology. Need to get more people on board? Applicant tracking systems (ATS) can help you sort through applications and get the right candidates.
If the tech doesn’t cut it, consider outsourcing roles or projects to a Philippine-based or local BPO company with experience handling Australian firms or American businesses like yours. Following a quality assurance system to ensure the job is done right, your chosen outsource service firm takes the responsibilities out of your hands, whether it’s related to accounting, HR, or any other deliverables.
Challenge #3: Keeping a Healthy Supply Chain
Say, you did manage to bring in new customers and take on more business. Congratulations. Now, let’s look at your supply chain. Is it stable enough to meet the increasing demands of your customers? Growing your company doesn’t end in gaining businesses. You should be able to deliver what you promised as well.
How to Overcome It: Communicate and Collaborate
Maintaining a functioning supply chain is all about relationships. Because you stand in between the suppliers and customers, you have to manage your relationships with all the players in the chain.
Through a survey, ask your customers what they need and what alternatives they are willing to consider in case the product they’re looking for becomes unavailable. As for your suppliers, be proactive in collaborating with them. It’s only through a strong partnership that both of you can meet the demands of the market. Also, prove that you care for your suppliers by monitoring them and paying them on time.
Challenges related to overhead, competitors, and supply chain might come your way as you try to grow the business. Triumph over them through research, technology, outsourcing, and better relationships.