Growth is every company’s goal – use these technological solutions to manage the growing pains associated with a compound annual growth rate over 20%.
Growth is rarely linear, particularly as it speeds up. Every fast-growing company faces challenges but those challenges aren’t all the same. Generally, growth-related complications can be broken down into four categories: client, culture, people and place. Whether you’re experiencing hypergrowth or not, you’ll have experienced a variation of almost all of these pain points and you’ll be able to benefit from their tech-based solutions.
Client services are easy to maintain as a small-scale company, but add a 20-40% compound annual growth rate and suddenly a 1-to-1 client/employee ratio doesn’t make sense. The good news is that a strong customer base can be leveraged in order to ease some of your customer support work volume by implementing community-driven communication platforms like online forums or message boards. If you’re growing quickly, it’s more than likely that you’ve got some pretty loyal consumers – they’re experts on your product because they’re the ones who use it all the time. Opening up lines of communication between customers is a great way to make sure everyone with an FAQ gets heard.
Thanks to the rise of cloud and internet services, many companies operate on a subscription basis. The wide range of choice is great for consumers but it effectively means you have to win clients over repeatedly, making customer success an even more important part of customer retention than it already was. By connecting your customers in an online community, it is possible to reduce customer questions by as much as 50%. Enabling expert consumers to support less experienced consumers will strengthen your consumer community and drive engagement, allowing your team to focus on inquiries that need more attention.
Basic questions can also be answered with artificial intelligence assistance. If there is one resource hypergrowth companies are notoriously short on, it’s time. Small daily tasks like responding to emails only take a few seconds to complete, but the break in focus adds up – experts suggest that shifting focus can cause a decrease in productivity by 40%. We already have the AI capabilities to automate these kinds of repetitive, predictable tasks, and doing so can free up a lot of precious time for companies experiencing extreme growth.
Company culture is another element that gets harder to maintain as companies scale. Your company culture is your DNA and without it your company will fail. Keeping culture strong as a start-up is, again, relatively easy. But once staff numbers begin to grow steadily, it gets harder to keep everyone aligned. Connectivity in the workplace is especially important in maintaining a healthy culture. Keeping everyone connected using workplace technology is good for productivity, but ensuring an emotional connection to the way you work via a strong set of guiding principles and core values, is a crucial part of keeping everyone on the same page.
Social media is one way to keep employees in touch with company values and progress. A survey conducted by Inc found that, of the CEOs of America’s fastest-growing tech companies, 87% used LinkedIn, 85% used Facebook and 75% used Twitter. Of those surveyed, 31% allowed all staff to contribute to the social media channels. Company culture is best maintained with proximity – social media has brought the world much closer together and is a powerful tool for uniting employee mindsets. Highlighting your employees’ successes on your social channels will celebrate your core values and humanise your brand.
We’re programmed to be wary of change so when company progress necessitates shifts in working style, it will inevitably be challenging to get everyone to adopt the changes. Fast-growing companies can benefit massively from activity-based working practices, for example. It’s no secret that workplaces are becoming more agile. Using shared desks and adopting different work settings for corresponding tasks, coupled with working remotely, can increase space efficiencies and bolster productivity.
The rise of ubiquitous mobility is making flexible working easier to adopt that ever before. For most companies, this working style requires a major internal change and there will undoubtedly be some people who will fight the transition. Using live space-use maps can be a helpful tool to demonstrate how the new working practice is benefitting the company in real time.
The centrality of mobile computing devices and high-speed wireless networks have virtually eliminated the frustrations commonly associated with remote working, and cloud-based services have played a huge role in the rise of agile work practices. A particularly useful tool for fast-growing companies, cloud technologies provide users with a higher degree of control over their data, enable collaboration and improve connectivity with greater efficiency. The workplace will always be an important point of contact for organisations, but flexible working is a tech-enabled way to use space efficiently, simply by ensuring employees don’t have to be in the same place at the same time.
Your workplace is your most valuable tool for accommodating growth. Great office design considers your current and future requirements in order to deliver a space that’s right for your company now and down the line. Particularly during the early stages of the growth curve, it can be difficult to find the budget for a full office fit out. Fortunately, there are other ways to make sure you have the room you need to grow.
Collecting data on space use is critical when optimising your workspace for efficiency. Data collection in the workplace can spark debate, but monitoring space use is one type of data collection that doesn’t compromise privacy. Sensors that pick-up motion, temperature and light levels can be installed throughout your workplace, collecting live feedback on the way your space is used and revealing which spaces could be made more effective. These types of sensors can be incorporated in human centric lighting systems like the one our design team installed in Gymshark’s Birmingham headquarters.
While not a purely technical solution, ‘core and flex’ space models are essential for fast-growing companies looking for more room to work. Under a ‘core and flex’ model, companies take up flexible space as needed to supplement their private (core) office space. Core space will become increasingly important as your company matures, but flex space can be used as a short-term solution for rapid expansion, alleviating strain until your company achieves a settled rate of growth.