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Type 'how to grow your business' into any browser, and you get thousands and thousands of tips on how to keep your venture on the right track. Once you start applying these tips to your business growth activities and gaining some traction, you'll promptly notice that almost no one focuses on what comes after this initial stage and how important is to focus on quality when it comes to all things business.
And that's precisely what I'd like to cover in today's post. You may be wondering if your venture is ready to scale up, start hiring its first employees or dive in the world of business partnerships (for the latter, I recommend our own Partner Program). Regardless of why you need to assess your growth, let me help you by listing more and less visible indicators that your business is growing.
What are the signs of healthy business growth?
I would say that these factors can be both external and internal in their nature. I will review the former over the next few paragraphs.
1. You do new things every day
It may not be evident to you at first, but once you jump on a growth bandwagon, you'll know this one to be very true. Feeling you're out of your comfort zone is one of the best indicators that your business is flourishing. Doing new things every day keeps you excited too. And that's what growth is also about.
Let's not forget that this indicator will be important whether you're meeting these new demands gracefully or failing miserably at them at first. Either way, you're learning and growing as a business owner, and that what counts at the end of the day.
2. You have a diverse audience base
You may have noticed an increasingly significant pattern when contacting your customers: they come from various industries and companies of different sizes. They also use your services/product in multiple ways. What's good about it is the fact that once the inevitable churn comes in after a flow of new customers or there's a sudden drop of interest in one industry, you still have a good base of leads that you can rely on.
3. You get great feedback & there's a strong demand for your product/services
You get contacted by your customers/users of your product and know that they're satisfied with what you do. They also let you know if something is not working which means they're engaged. You also keep getting clear signals that there's plenty of unexplored markets for your company to delve into. All of these indicators can be good starting points for reviewing your growth strategy and planning your next steps in the business journey.
Your customers and fellow entrepreneurs also ping you on Twitter. A lot! You keep getting asked for advice on how to grow your business. What's a better sign of your company healthily advancing than people wanting you to share your tips & tricks?
4. Potential business partners and employees contact you on a regular basis
Yes, you're not also getting in touch with prospective customers, but you're also getting chatted by wannabe employees, collaborators, and business partners. Emails keep dripping in, and you start considering some of these business partnerships and hiring some of these people as activities that could bring value to your day-to-day workflow.
5. You get blog referrals and press
You not only proactively reach out to bloggers and journalists, but they also keep coming in and asking you for guest posts on their or your site as well for interviews and featuring in podcasts or live videos.
It may seem like growth is coming from external sources only, but you shouldn't forget that what's happening inside your business is also a good indicator of healthy growth. These things may also serve as signals of what's still to come for your venture. Let's see what internal check-ups you should have in mind once your business starts growing.
6. You have all necessary processes in place
While you want to keep your business approach flexible, some workflows are part of running a venture. Fully functioning processes may be what will help you keep your business at steady in months and years ahead. Make sure you set up as early as it's necessary to support your employees and customers in operating efficiently and what's more important, grow on a professional and personal level.
7. Your employees and collaborators live and breathe positive work culture
This not only refers to entrepreneurs with at least few employees but also should be reviewed on a regular basis by those of us who work as solopreneurs. Once you start cooperating with other businesses (be it your customers or contractors), you'll quickly learn that keeping your approach and your attitude uplifting are both crucial for creating a positive atmosphere.
And once you start hiring employees, making sure that they're a good fit and share your venture's core values will be important too. People who work with and for you should feel that you're both on the same page at all times, so schedule catch-up meetings as often as it is needed. Avoid micromanaging and ensure that they know that you're supporting them in all their daily work activities.
Ok, so now that we've reviewed what is healthy business growth, you may be read to kick things off at your venture and focus on pushing things forward, but when it comes to business, it's not all that simple.
You may be thinking that if you're getting swamped with leads and can't keep up, you're on the right track. The truth is that there is such a thing as growing too fast and research seems to be confirming it.
What are the signs of an unhealthy business growth?
The first sign that it may be time to overhaul your growth strategy and that you're stretching your employees and yourself too thin is that you're no longer sure where your business is heading. You've also lost track of your strategy and vision a while ago. You don't know what your next steps should be and that forces you to make your decisions (especially those related to finances or operations) either without much consideration or too late for them to be beneficial.
Another indicator that your venture may be growing too fast is the fact that you start hiring people without necessary skill set or enough experience to be successful in your company. What's more, both you and your employees are too busy trying to keep up with what's happening to properly train new joiners or even assign roles and define their daily tasks. Once you'll notice that is the case at your company, you should focus on fixing it as soon as possible. Remember that once your venture will leave a startup phase and start growing, reviewing roles of your seasoned coworkers may be necessary too.
What comes after not having a clear vision for growth, lack of communication, and hiring the wrong people for your business should be considered the most alarming sign: you get customer complaints and even worse, start losing them on a large scale. As you may know, some of your customers will lose interest in your services or product once your business starts growing, but if the churn numbers are increasing suddenly, you should focus on finding out why this is happening and find ways to mend it.
If you'd like to know more about how to assess if your business is growing too fast, you may also want to check this video where Simple Mills' Kaitlin Smith talks about her own experience as a busy startup entrepreneur:
Hey, so that's what should not happen at your venture once you start growing at a faster pace. If you feel like you've covered on all bases, I encourage you to check if LiveChat Partner Program could be beneficial for your venture. After all, getting involved in business partnerships is considered one of the easiest and most effective techniques for growing your business.
Not sure if you're keeping up with all the signs of healthy business growth? Remember to review the quality of your business growth on a regular basis, and you may find out which of these indicators you should be still working on. After all, as I've mentioned over and over on this blog, quality in business should always come first.
What signs of healthy business growth have I missed in my post? I'd love to hear about these in the comments below or on Twitter.