In many ways, it is harder to plan for success than it is for failure. When your company was in its infancy and your team was hungry to make a success of the enterprise, you were constantly thinking about all the things that could go wrong and devising strategies to mitigate them.
That is all behind you. Your tech company has made it past the second year and continues to grow strong entering its third.
You have made it to what most experts call the second stage of growth. In the next stage of your business, you will face a number of new challenges. The novelty and newness of the original solutions and services your tech company offers have worn off. You have found your niche in the industry, and you must now find a way to sustain your competitive advantage. You must focus on the financial, operational, and organizational fundamentals that will make your company a strong and durable presence in the marketplace.
Here is some advice for tech companies entering their third year in business:
1. Stay ahead of complexity
Increased complexity is an inevitable result of business success. As you develop new business and grow your customer base, you will need to put more time, effort, and resources into solving technical problems related to new IT systems, new delivery systems, and a growing workforce. You will also have to pay more attention to customer satisfaction. You will have to do more to keep the customers you have and to grow beyond them.
This will require you to seek outside help. It might be a simple matter of getting approved for a business loan to cover the cost of adjustments, improvements, and upgrade. It may be best to outsource parts of your operation to companies that specialize in various aspects of your operations. You may also need to form partnerships and alliances with other companies in order to meet client needs and expectations.
2. Learn to trust new people
This is one of the hardest obstacles for second-stagers to overcome. You and your team have been through the fire of the first two years. You have formed a bond, and you trust one another completely. Your instinct will be to promote the people who have demonstrated their loyalty by sticking with the company through good times and bad.
This is not good business practice. The new jobs and positions that become available as your company grows must be filled by the best talent available. You cannot always find such people internally. At this stage of the business, you will need to bring new people into your business and your inner circle. You will need to give them a chance to learn about the company and become part of the culture you have created.
3. Focus on opportunities
You will need to spend less time thinking about and planning for threats to your existence and more time seeking out and taking advantage of opportunities. Now that you have stable streams of revenue sources and dependable sources of financing, you should not allow good opportunities to pass you buy.
Good opportunities may consist of anything from acquiring a new company to expanding a product line or service. The bottom line here is to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship systematically. This is the only way that you will be able to keep ahead of your rivals.
4. Grow to last
You must also create strategic plans, processes, and organizational structures that reflect the scale of your profitability and projected growth. As the volume of orders you receive increases, you must have the capacity to service them. You must stop thinking of your company as a start-up and start thinking of it as an established brand in the marketplace.