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Growing Pains?

Phil Morgan, the CEO of SPS, looks at getting your business in shape for 2016.

As we start a new year, what are your business objectives for 2016? I’d hope that one of them includes ‘business growth’ – isn’t that what it’s all about?

Even in a challenging economy, you can still make plans for your business designed with growth as the main aim. But here’s the thing – It’s not just about planning to increase sales by 10%, increase market share by 5%, or expand into three more countries. You need to consider the bigger picture and adapt your business in order to handle the growth you’re aspiring to.

As one of the biggest suppliers in this industry, we’ve experienced a lot of growth over the last few years. It’s a great position to be in, which has afforded us the opportunity to acquire other businesses and extend our product offering and market coverage. But it hasn’t been without its share of growing pains. So here are a few pointers to help you consider the bigger picture.

Are your people ready? Any kind of growth is going to put extra pressure on your teams across the business, not just sales, but also finance, production, artwork, and marketing. Does your team understand your strategy for growth and are they on board? Is it time for extra training to equip your teams?

Are your products ready? Where do you want to grow? Is it time to expand your product offering or consolidate? What do your customers want from you?

Are your processes ready? We often ‘walk orders through’ our business, to identify every touchpoint from enquiry to despatch. Are there any bottlenecks? Even worse, are there any gaps? Where can you make processes slicker or add value?

Are your systems ready? Speaking from experience, you can have the products, the people and the expertise, but if you haven’t got a computer system that can handle the complexities of your business, then you’re going to face trouble. Having just gone through the process of implementing a new ERP system, I can confirm it’s tough work, but well worth it if you want to prepare your business for growth and success.

Are your suppliers ready? If you’re going to be demanding more from your suppliers in order to achieve your growth, then now is the time to build on those relationships.

Are your customers ready? If you’re growing your business, then you must be doing something right – so shout about it! Testimonials, social media and online reviews can all create fantastic word-of-mouth marketing and help you take those next big steps as a business.

Taking the time to ensure you’ve got everything in place is well worth it. The promotional merchandise market is growing year on year, and the opportunities for exporting are also on the up. So dream big, plan well and go for it!


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