Managing a growth spurt can make or break a business

The economy may not be steaming ahead, but it is steady and there are still opportunities for growth. Here are key steps to making 2013-14 the year of the growth spurt.

The economy may not be steaming ahead, but it is steady and there are still opportunities for growth. Here are key steps to making 2013-14 the year of the growth spurt.

Goals: Know what you're aiming for. Bruce Hall, director of The Small Business Institute, asks business owners to be clear on what they are targeting and why.

Financial resources: Rhondalynn Korolak, managing director of Imagineering Unlimited, says apart from the start-up, growth spurts are the second-most risky time for a business owner. "Depending on the state of working capital ... growth can often cause the cash flow to get squeezed, which means that even though the business is growing rapidly, there is not enough money available to pay the bills as they are due."

Infrastructure: Do you have the right building blocks to support your growth goals?

Systems: Twelve months since launching Thought Spot PR and Media Connections, Linda Reed-Enever is thankful she put some good systems in place. She says her client spreadsheet was quickly adapted into a customer relationship management (CRM) system as the business grew.

Delegating or outsourcing: If growth means making the transition to running a team, business owners should review how they spend their time, says Hall. "What are the activities that you need to perform that are high payoff? Focus in on them. Then either delegate, outsource or stop doing the rest."

New skills: Mark Fraser, managing director of Sage Strategy Services, says businesses built on the back of an entrepreneur's idea often require additional skills as they grow.

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