It’s the growing business conundrum. You’ve worked hard to get your business off the ground and it’s exciting to see your customer base and revenues grow. But raising capital, structuring your organization to scale, and managing relationships with your many new customers create new challenges that you weren’t prepared for. Last month, at the Salesforce Growth Camp in Dallas, Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer at Vistage, led a panel of experts who shared their expert advice on scaling your business to the next level. Here’s what they had to say:
Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer of Vistage
In a recent survey, we asked the Vistage community of SMB leaders about the major decisions they are facing in 2017. The top challenge, as identified by more than a 1,000 respondents, is hiring. The best-performing companies have a systematic framework for talent planning, and to successfully scale, growing businesses need to as well. Hiring isn’t something that you can approach in an ad hoc manner. Your talent strategy needs to align with your corporate strategy, and involve leaders and employees in the process. Planning ahead for succession planning, creating programs for high-performing employees, and making time for employee development are just a few of things that you need to consider.
Pat Niekamp, Publisher and Co-Founder of Texas CEO magazine
Your company starts with the CEO and the ones with the best vision for the future are the best leaders. CEOs need to understand who they are, where they are going, and what they want to accomplish. The ones that do will have a stock price that goes up! But it’s also the team that you hire. When you found a company and start building your team, most people bring in generalists — people that can do everything from going on a sales call to graphic design. The challenge as you scale is how to move from generalists to specialists. Even the best coach can’t do anything with a bad team, so you need to make yours great.
Rex Kurzuis, Entrepreneur and Founder of Asset Panda, an asset tracking platform
In order to grow, you need to understand your customers. We figured out ways to configure our system to allow a customer to solve their problem. Tech companies often make the mistake – through their use of content, Capterra, etc. — of just trying to get potential customers to their site but not spending enough time making sure they have the features and functionality to solve their customer’s problems. The only way to get the information you need to solve those problems is to connect with the customers. We ask customers to talk to us through online chat, request a demo, etc. The more information we have about a customer’s use case, the better information we can give to our marketing and product teams. You need to listen hard and change fast.
Dan Vermeire, Managing Director Corporate Finance Associates, M&A Intermediary
These days, funding is readily available and accessible, so what’s holding companies back from a financial perspective is often about the strategy. If it’s not written down or if everyone doesn’t know about it then it isn’t a strategy. Many businesses are started with some money from friends or family, and a few years later, those folks want dividends. We call that “dead equity” and you need to get them out – they are not pulling on the same oar. Give equity to the people who are pulling in with you.
Hiring the right people, systematically approaching talent planning, finding ways to stay close to customers, and planning your financial strategy are all necessary for scaling your business as you grow. Don’t wait! Plan for growth from day one so you can grow without worries.
Salesforce can help you find customers, win their businesses, and keep them happy so you can grow your business faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions or follow us on twitter @SalesforceSMB and join the conversation with #SalesforceGROW.