Starting a business is exciting, but it often comes with many risks and uncertainties. For most entrepreneurs, having a trusted resource when problems arise can often be the very element needed to achieve game changing success.
“Ask the Expert”, our biweekly feature designed especially for startups, invites North Texas industry thought leaders to share helpful advice and strategies with current and aspiring business owners.
Meet Point B Principal Rob Kelley
Rob Kelley is a Principal at Point B, a management consulting firm that assists clients in developing strategic insights and translating them into impact. The company serves organizations from visionary start-ups to Fortune 100 companies across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology, retail and public sector.
Rob is a former entrepreneur, with over 25 years of experience providing strategic leadership across technology and operational initiatives, driving Agile, DevOps and cloud transformations.
Rob’s expertise is in directing organizations on innovation, custom-developed technology products and enterprise system implementations. Rob also acts as an advisor for clients in building out enterprise-wide capabilities, including Strategic Execution Office, PMO center of excellence and enterprise transformation initiatives.
To learn more about Point B, click here.
Try these Four Simple Steps to Scaling
By: Rob Kelley
To all of our entrepreneurs reading this right now, CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully started a business, and that is certainly something to celebrate. After days, months and possibly years of blood, sweat and tears, you have created a working product or service, and you have established a demand with a customer base that transcends your family and friends.
So, what now? How do you maintain stability with continued growth in sales, efficiency in your operations and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements? As much as the odds are against starting a successful business, growing and sustaining over time is even harder. The U.S. federal government statistics show the following results.
Even though approximately half will survive past the first five years, only around 620,000 businesses in America (out of more than 5 million in total) employ more than 20 or more people, and around 6,500 in America employ more than 1,500 people. So, where do you start the next chapter in your entrepreneurial journey?
Four Dimensions of Growth:
There are four dimensions of the business that require your focus for growth: establishment of a core leadership team, expansion of your market, continuous improvement of the customer experience, and visibility into key performance indicators.
1) Establish a core leadership team
An entrepreneur learns to manage every part of a business and to create a baseline of success; however, it does not mean they manage all areas of the business well. For example, if the founder has skills and experiences to develop the business, then look for two more leaders with financial, operational, technical or legal skills. As with larger companies, leaders need sharp communication and interpersonal skills because they will need to sell the business’s products and services, both internally and externally.
2) Expand your market
In order to grow, a business must tap into additional markets and find more customers to buy their products and services. This can be accomplished by adding new geographies, channels (i.e., digital platforms, distributorships, franchising, partnerships, etc.) and adjacent lines of products or services. Always weigh the benefits and risks of new products and services. Do not lose focus on the core products and services that made the company successful at the onset.
3) Continuously improve the customer experience
In today’s world, even the most innovative product can be quickly copied by someone else, leading to competition seemingly overnight. Improve processes and leverage technology to create ‘barriers to entry”, and never settle for the current state. If you have thought of a new idea, chances are your competitors have too!
4) Create visibility into key performance indicators (or “KPI’s”)
The best-run businesses have identified KPI’s to understand where they are, how they compare in the marketplace, and if their new ideas are working or not. KPI’s must have reliable measures, based on sound data and analysis. Consider key functions or life cycles of the business and how you can create visibility through dependable systems and technology.
With the proliferation of Software as a Service (or “SaaS”), systems can be purchased on a “pay by the drink” basis. These systems not only offer great features and functions for company personnel, but they also provide a stable source of record of key information and analytical tools for report and insight creation.
Of course, each of these four dimensions has a myriad of options to choose from, and costs are always a consideration for a business of any size. Be sure to leverage your board(s), mentors, advisors and experts in various fields to make sound choices. Succeeding in these four dimensions can create the pillars of your business and long-term success for you and your employees.
Now that you have the four dimensions of growth to consider, here is one final piece of advice: never lose sight of why you embarked upon this journey. Stay bold, stay hungry and do everything you can to instill a sense of curiosity and urgency in the team you are about to build.
Onward and upward!
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