Strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines, take the bull by the horns…there’s a glut of clichés in the English language to describe the same sort of thing, the need to capitalise on favourable circumstances and make the most of momentum. The fact that such a wide array of sayings exists is perhaps evidence that this is a truism and one that applies clearly to the world of business. But, while it is one thing spotting that this is important and having it as an ambition, it is quite another to know how to go about the process of thriving when market conditions turn in your favour. So, if things do take off and growth comes to you and/or your market, what should you bear in mind when it comes to rapid market growth?
When the cards are stacked in your favour you must act fast. By sitting back and doing nothing you risk letting your rapid period of growth pass. As a business you need to be able to analyse the market, recognise when things are going in your favour and be able to react accordingly. That might mean launching new products and services or conducting marketing campaigns – all of which need to be timed just right to succeed.
If your business grows quickly then you’ll need to invest in new staff. Pinpoint people with the right expertise but also the right attitude to complement the employees that you already have on the books. Remember you’re not just looking for someone with the right CV but someone with the right personality to help you move forward.
It’s so easy to allow yourself to be swept away by enthusiasm and get ahead of yourself yet history shows that businesses who try to go too far too fast are doomed to fail. The Financial Times recently found that most of the SME founders it asked favoured organic growth over acquisitions. A rapid expansion could leave you open to issues if and when the growth dries up.
If the market grows and your sector looks rosy then it is important to remember that you’re unlikely to be the only business looking to cash in on the situation. When times are good it is important to establish your name as a leader in your field. Sometimes that is simply about having the best product or service in your field and sometimes you need a little more than that. Consider, for example, the power of sport to influence finance. Big events are able to show a noticeable impact on financial indices with a feelgood factor that spreads to all involved. Sponsorship of such events gets your name associated with the best in the sporting arena, doing much to establish your brand’s position in the market as well as spreading the word far and wide. When you are experiencing growth, put yourself at the head of the pack by being associated with the best.
When you’re riding the crest of a wave, share your wisdom. This is similar to the last point in that it is about establishing your brand and getting your name set in the mind of others as a market leader. Write about your industry and the successes you’ve had, share it on your blog and through social media. Comment and interact with others in your field and speak at conferences. Build a profile during a period of growth and you’ll establish your brand as a leader in the field when times are not as easy going.
Making the most of rapid market growth is about three things. Firstly, cashing in on the growth. Secondly, it’s about not getting complacent and leaving yourself open to issues when times are tougher. Lastly, it’s about realising that building a reputation is important and taking the opportunities to do just that so that your position is secure in the future.