Expansion is often instrumental to business growth. Whether it involves moving into new markets or setting up facilities in different locations, such developments usually don’t happen instantly. Expansion may require months or years to execute, and business owners and managers must lead the way.
While acknowledging that reality, business leaders still want to save as much time as possible when expanding their companies. This goal is often easier said than done since unexpected delays and unforeseen obstacles aren’t unusual. Nevertheless, there are ways business leaders can save time as they implement their growth plans. Let’s look at four of them.
1. Outsource Payroll
Growing a business usually means adding employees. Expanding into new territories or recruiting from larger candidate pools can open up new possibilities. You may no longer hire only local talent as you take your company across state borders or even overseas. While it’s exciting, onboarding staff members from different locations will make the company’s payroll processes more complex.
It can be complicated enough to add employees to your roster from across state lines. Those complications increase even more with international expansion and hiring. Now you’ve got other countries’ labor laws and government-mandated benefits to deal with. These laws and standards may be unfamiliar to you and outside the scope of your HR manager’s expertise.
Outsourcing your company’s payroll and benefits administration can save time and potential future headaches. By partnering with global payroll providers, businesses don’t have to manage differences in benefit deductions or taxes. Companies can rest assured that international employees will get paid on time and receive the benefits they’re due.
Certain payroll providers can hire employees in other countries on behalf of businesses that don’t have a business presence in those places. These providers, called employers of record, let businesses expand global teams without going through the process of setting up legal entities. With an EOR, you can onboard international talent in less time while remaining compliant with other countries’ labor laws.
2. Do Sufficient Research
Skimping on market research or plowing through it too quickly may cost you later. Business expansions can eat money and time if leaders proceed without a solid understanding of the market and an appropriate strategy. You might be eager to enter a new market or expand your company’s product line. However, doing so without proper planning could lead to failure.
Undertaking an expansion without thorough research and strategic planning is one of the main reasons businesses go under. Even if your company survives a poorly thought-out or executed expansion, you may have to scale back. That could mean packing up your bags and closing down operations in a market you recently entered.
Taking the time to do enough research and planning beforehand will save you time later. As you move into a new market, you’ll be ready to handle competitors, cultural differences, and potential roadblocks. Your business will likely avoid or mitigate low product adoption rates, supply chain or logistics issues, and hiring challenges. Expanding into new territory is risky, but comprehensive research gives you the knowledge to prepare for those risks.
3. Take Advantage of Automation
Routine tasks, such as emailing customers, have to get done. But they’re also time hogs and can lead to assignment backlogs for staff members who must juggle other responsibilities. Luckily, software and tech tools make it easier to automate some of the repetitive tasks employees handle.
As businesses grow, so does the scope of routine assignments. Without automation, staff members may struggle to keep up, or they’ll feel overwhelmed. Some employees might start to cut corners or make mistakes because of the pressure to get more done. Others may slow down and reduce their efforts so that they feel less stress. Either way, your business is losing productivity and efficiency.
Integrating automation into your operations and expansion plans can recoup the productivity and time lost. For instance, customer relationship management software can automate customer follow-up, sales, and marketing emails. Employees won’t have to write and rewrite the text or manually track client communications. Project management software can automate task handoffs and track the progress of deliverables. Team members won’t waste time finding out what they should be working on and who gets it next.
4. Establish Realistic and Clear Goals
Realistic expansion goals are targets your business has a high probability of achieving. These objectives are also measurable and make efficient use of your company’s resources. In contrast, unrealistic goals can waste time and employees’ efforts because they’re not attainable. Not establishing measurable and realistic goals can also lead to confusion and chaos as leaders constantly change direction.
Unfortunately, a lack of clear direction or constantly shifting objectives mean employees may work on projects that never go anywhere. Staff members may delay tasks or projects because they’re unsure about how or when to start. When your company is expanding, it’s usually time to ramp up and achieve a series of wins. But employees can’t work effectively toward company objectives if they’re unclear on how goals align with their tasks.
When businesses link individual objectives with business priorities, there’s a greater chance that performance will increase. Better performance and goal achievement prevents the misuse of resources and time. With clear and realistic objectives, employees know what they’re aiming for and won’t be as hesitant to get started. When staff members know how their work contributes to the company’s success, they’ll be more confident their efforts won’t be wasted.
Achieving Efficient Growth
Business expansions aren’t something leaders should do without strategic planning and tools. If they attempt it, they could waste their company’s and employees’ time trying to achieve unattainable or unclear objectives. Forming the right partnerships, assessing new opportunities, streamlining workflows, and aligning employee and company goals can increase efficiency. When leaders manage growth and company resources at a realistic pace, expansions are less likely to derail.