5 Tips to Grow On

Blake Roe

Blake Roe, CPA, Partner, Plante Moran
February 2016

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 1,000 times: if you’re not growing, you’re dying.  Going all the way back to one of our founding partners, Frank Moran, we’ve believed that a Company shouldn’t grow just for the sake of growth.  Growth is something that an organization should pursue primarily so that the organization can provide a better and a broader range of service to its clients, and allow it to do a better job of taking care of its staff and providing them greater opportunity.  Frank was fond of saying, when done right, “the benefits of growth go on”.

But growth comes with its share of challenges. Here are the top 5 tips both our firm and our clients consider when planning for growth:

  1. Process Improvement: Just because you’ve always approached a process a particular way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Ask yourself, why does this process exist? Who are its recipients? How can you make it better? And how will you know whether it’s effective?  If your customers, products or business have changed - have your processes kept pace?
  2. Strategy: You’ve heard the phrase, “Culture eats strategy for lunch,” but don’t let that diminish the importance of a strategic plan! Well-thought-out organic and inorganic growth initiatives provide the strategic roadmap for achieving your organization’s overall objectives.  Your strategy should then leverage your culture if you want to give your strategy the best chance for success.  If your employees can not clearly articulate the Company’s strategy and direction then you can’t expect them to help you execute on the strategy.
  3. Talent: When considering talent acquisition and development, we often refer to an individual’s skills. However, it’s important to account for the abilities, personality, and interests of the overall team. Creating proper alignment will enhance the hiring and onboarding experience and, eventually, success rates.
  4. Managing Risk: Whether into new markets or new products, expansion creates exposure to risks, including reputation, fraud, culture, and financial reporting. Making risk management part of the growth process helps to ensure the safety of assets and cash and the accuracy and reliability of records. 
  5. Technology: It’s critical that your technology supports your business strategy. Start by assessing your current technology, people, and processes to identify gaps between where you are and where you want to be. Then develop a prioritized action plan and exercise vigilance to ensure you get the expected return on your IT investments.