Tips to manage growth
There are many different kinds of businesses, non-profits, and organizations. And they all have one thing in common. They want to grow! Get more customers, sell more products, book more services, sign more members, or raise more donations - it’s all about growth. Growth is the goal of all businesses, big and small. But what happens when growth happens fast? As in, so fast that staff, systems, and processes can’t keep up? It may sound like a good problem to have, and it is. But it is still a problem. Here are tips to manage growth that you can use to help you cope with your current workflow, and prepare for more volume in the months to come.
Business Growth Problems
Entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs dream of rapid business growth. So how can this possibly be a problem? Surprisingly, fast growth does create issues because the existing company infrastructure isn’t built for the new volume. For example, when lots of new staff join to deal with the new workload, it can be a challenge to integrate them into the company culture. Communication channels have to adapt to accommodate extra people and new departments.
And most importantly, processes and technology may not be ready for the new level of activity. Often, growth requires upgrading to new software, or switching to a new system. This is usually a good thing and creates more capacity and efficiency. However, it is also a learning curve for existing staff who are used to the old way of doing things. There is also the transition period when everyone adapts
Case Study - Spectrum Services
This is exactly what happened with Spectrum Services, a placement company based in Michigan. The company had expanded rapidly in its niche sector of transportation professionals. Thousands of transportation organizations were depending upon their services, and their roster was past 500,000 individuals. Clearly, this requires a strong system of secure data management with privacy protection and smooth processing.
According to Michele Gray, VP of Operations for Spectrum Services, “Business was growing at an incredible pace, but we knew we were in trouble. Outdated processes that were once an annoyance became a detriment to our success. The very tools that we relied on to service our clients were unable to keep up. We were becoming less effective each day. It was costing us heavily.”
Read this article to learn how to improve processes at work.
The management team knew that their old paper processes were a problem, and was holding them back. It was time to go digital, and they started by switching all intake and information gathering processes to online forms. They were able to do this without any interruption to their business. It didn’t take long to build their online forms and test them. Then they picked a day to transition. All customers after a certain date used only the digital form processes.
Want more inspiration from real companies? Check out this story of how a uniform company doubled their processing time, and see ideas for how to identify what processes to improve in your organization. Read this Form Builder Success
Improved processes and more profits with online forms
Today Spectrum Services is using online forms and integrations, which has shortened process turnaround times from days to minutes. As Gray explains, “What we decided to do was look for a solution that could allow us to easily convert our paper forms to a cloud based system where critical data can get to the right places in real time and be acted upon instantly, with nothing slipping through the cracks. The new paperless system must also allow for secure storage of data, integration for reporting and analysis, timely notifications to stakeholders for key events.”
For example, they improved processes by switching to online forms employees complete to track their time each week. This connects directly to payroll for manager review and approval. They also built online surveys for employee feedback as part of a culture of continuous improvement.
Tips to manage growth
1. Embrace change
Rapid growth means the old ways of doing things won’t keep up. Embrace that change is part of leveling up your business. Be open to learning new technology and trust that once you are past the learning curve, there is more efficiency and capacity.
2. Automate processes
Triggers can be set up within digital form builders and other software to trigger actions. For example, a new customer Or, an employee completes an online form requesting time off, and it goes to their manager for approval before going to the HR department. Automate processes to speed up processing time is one of the best tips to manage growth.
3. Minimize data entry
Why enter information into a CRM and then into accounting software? Automation allows data to flow from one software to another. Digital forms for intake, registration, ordering, surveys, and feedback can connect directly to software or spreadsheets.
4. Be honest
Chances are, customers and employees know that there are growth pains in your business. They are front-line with line ups, late deliveries, and slower response time. Be honest about these issues, and use it as a good news story. Share the success of your rapid growth. Tell them that changes are happening to level up your business to accommodate the new volume. Get them excited about how these new processes will make their customer experience better.
5. Be creative
Change is an opportunity to be creative and really level up. For example, when building their online form to register new transportation professionals, Spectrum Services invited users to add a photo. By uploading a photo, new profiles were more complete and facilitated the introduction process with their customers.
Paperless Forms integrates with existing software for seamless and efficient data management. Start with our free forever plan today