Growing Your Business – Organically or by Acquisition

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” - Martin Luther King

Directors of small and medium size growing companies face many problems as they try to expand their activities. There are many companies who under-perform or are inefficient. Growth gives a company the opportunity to maximise its potential and, thus, the returns that it makes to the owners. Growth can cause many problems. The companies which have already overcome the problems of starting up in business, or which have been in business for a number of years and are set for growth, have to face new problems if their growth is to be profitable. Profitable growth can only take place if the key problem areas have been identified and tackled. A company must have solid foundations before it can grow and growth must therefore be planned carefully.

Company growth can be divided into a growth life cycle in which the development of the company is broken down into distinct phases with specific problems in each phase. They can be broken down into four phases. They are establishment, growth, maturity and decline. At each phase a company will have different type of problems.

These are some but not all of the key problem areas for growing companies:

  • Lack of financial resources
  • Lack of quality and experienced management
  • Inadequate systems and inefficiencies in operations
  • Lack of forward planning and lack of strategic review
  • Inappropriate marketing
  • Poor management of change – skills growing company’s management must develop
  • Increased competition
  • Competitive pricing
  • Dealing with changes in the market place
  • Obsolete products and change in technology
  • Lack of key staff

For a company to grow successfully one should start with the preparation of a development plan. This will involve the management taking a detached look at the business and realistically assessing it and its markets. From this assessment comes a decision as to the most appropriate strategic direction for the company, as well as the key constraints which must be tackled to allow the business to develop.