The ultimate aim of most businesses is to grow. To make more money. To develop new products and services. To find a bigger audience and to tackle a global market. You might want your business to move into new areas. To branch out into other fields. You might be keen to make enough money to allow you to hire new staff and grow your team. You might simply want to prove yourself if you’ve gone it on your own and taken a risk.
Growth usually takes time. It’s never as simple as working harder and making more money. There’s a lot to think about. You’ll need to market. To find the right team. To invest. You might need a bigger office or work-space and maybe even a business loan or an investor. One thing that can get lost in all of this growth is consistency.
When we run a tiny business, perhaps on our own, we take time with every order. We’ve got time to take when business is slow. We work on every product. We communicate with every customer. We approve every marketing campaign and business decision. Every little detail of our business is given our time and our focus. This means that we offer a consistent service. Every customer can expect the same level of care. Every product is the same. Every decision is given time and thought. We can become known for our consistency. It can help us to build a good reputation.
Unfortunately, this consistency can be hard to keep up when you start to grow. The busier you are and the more people that you have involved in your business, the harder it becomes to give your customers and your products the focus that they deserve. Suddenly, you can find that a loss in consistency can start to have an adverse effect. Your customers can lose faith, your reputation can begin to suffer, and you might start hearing things like “they grew too fast” or “victim of success”. Let’s take a look at some ways to keep that consistency going, even as you grow.
Manage Your Data
Mistakes happen. It’s only natural. The more people imputing data, the more likely it is that errors will be made, or something will get missed. Some mistakes, don’t matter. But, sometimes even a simple mistake imputing data, like an incorrect customer address, can cause havoc. They might miss orders and invoices, you could lose a customer, and worse, receive poor reviews that others find out about. Data management can help you to see the importance of managing your data effectively, as well as some solutions to help.
Train Your Staff
One of the leading causes of inconsistency in business is people. Every member of your team will have a slightly different working style. This is great. They each bring their individual qualities and skills, as well as their personality traits, to the business. They grow as a team because of their differences. It can be a huge part of your success. But, it can also mean that your customers get different service, or that your products differ in quality, depending on which member of staff is on duty.
You need to find the right balance. You should encourage their differences and help them to grow their strengths. While emphasizing the importance of consistency in service and development. The key to this is offering comprehensive and constant training. Spend time with your team, as a group and one on one. Don’t just train them once and then trust them to do their jobs. Refresh their knowledge regularly and ensure everyone is on the same page and that they understand the importance of consistency through growth.
Understand Your Values
Your business should have values and beliefs. Things that you stand for. This could be sustainability. It could be excellent customer service or putting your customers first. There’ll be something that when you started, you wanted to achieve, beyond earning money and growing a business. These are your core values, they should be at the root of absolutely everything that your company does, and you shouldn’t forget it when you start to grow. With every decision, be it branding, hiring or marketing a new product, ask yourself if it meets your values and if it’s being true to who you are.
Your branding should reflect your core values, and it should also be continuously used. When you set up your branding, it’s worth thinking very carefully about all elements: your colors, your font, your tagline and your logo. You don’t want to be changing them all the time, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. When creating your company’s image, be sure to use branding ideas or branding tips that suite the needs of your business and that are from reputable companies that don’t re-brand consistently themselves.
One significant change, to reflect the values of your growing brand is fine. But, more than this makes you look flaky and like you don’t know what you want. It’s inconsistent. It’s confusing for your followers and fans. It sends the wrong message, and it can see you losing customers and hurting your reputation.
Remind Yourself of What is Important
When we start out, it’s our core beliefs and values that drive us. They push us forward and help us to stay on track. They dictate how we treat our customers and our products. Then, as we grow, other things can become more important. Money and growth take priority. That’s usually when inconsistency sets in.
Take the time to remind yourself of what is important. Your customers are the key to your success, without them, your business is nothing. So, take it back to basics. Take care of your customers, give them the service and the products that they deserve. Remind yourself of this occasionally and print your values out somewhere that everyone in your office can see them.
There’s nothing wrong with making things easier for yourself and your team. Things like email templates, social media post-automation, templates for business cards and advertising are easy to find, and they make life much easier. It’s also a great idea to have checklists, to help your staff (and yourself) to stay on track and make sure tasks are being done the same.