Pick a number between 1 and 100 and I can find an article on the Internet with that many “essential tips” or strategies for managing growth. Either every one of those authors truly does have something unique to say about growth or this is an honestly difficult challenge for businesses to overcome (Aled’s essential tip #1: It’s the latter!). Seeing as we’ve just announced that we have, for the second year running, made the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 rankings I thought I’d join those those authors and provide some insights into how we managed to grow 723% in 4 years and still keep going!
It is perhaps one of the most interesting anecdotes and one, I think, that provides the greatest insight into how a company can grow this much this quickly that the customers I speak to about our latest award are pleased but not surprised to hear about it. Scanning the many articles on the Internet one of the most common tips is to keep customers happy – more than that for us is a recognition that we can’t succeed without our customers succeeding. Our mission statement says that we achieve success through helping our customers to succeed in delivering innovative, profitable and high quality services. That focus has been present from the early days of SIPHON and that’s shown in the customers who have stuck with us from the start.
Not only have we focused at every stage on what our customers need and how we can best provide that, but we’ve been clear from the start that if we can’t add value to our customers, then we shouldn’t be doing it. Sometimes this has resulted in us finding new and innovative ways to provide a product or service where we add some value to our customers, like our work in the distribution channel where we have provided services like handset configuration, lifetime warranties and professional services to help integrate the devices into our customer platforms. Sometimes we’ve turned down a product or supplier because there isn’t any useful value we can add. But either way we’ve worked alongside our customers to deliver exceptional products and services and help them succeed with their customers, resulting in success, happiness and loyalty. Aled’s tip #2 then: Focus on what your customers need to succeed and provide it in a way that demonstrates your value in the relationship.
The second element that’s common across all of the articles is people. I’ve spoken at length previously about how important our people are to SIPHON, but that boils down to several elements. To manage growth effectively, you have to have good, smart people who are willing to work hard alongside each other. I strongly believe that a team of great people can achieve much more together than they could individually and we have put a lot of effort into ensuring that our teams work together cohesively and to a common goal. These are not new principles, but we’ve put a lot of effort into putting them into practice.
Once you have a good team, you need to expand it – growth requires people and by ensuring that our ethos, our culture comes across in our interviews and when we meet people, we’ve been able to ensure that the teams we grow have people in them who are enthused by the environment and want to grow with us. We have not been slow to invest in our people from our newest apprentices right up to the top levels of the organisation.
All of this together creates an environment where people are empowered and recognised for their efforts which drives a desire to go the extra mile. Those of you who’ve been reading my recent posts about our culture and values will recognise our core values. So, Aled’s top tips #3 and #4 then – look after your people and they’ll look after you; be clear in how you communicate and propagate the culture you want to foster and it will become self-sustaining.
Not many companies pull back the blinds and let people see the heart of the company in the way that this blog does on SIPHON. We’re very clear that in this, we want people to see us for what we are – we are a group of committed people working very hard towards making your business a success. We want to be transparent in this regard – we want our passion and our dedication to shine through – top tip #5 then is that you should be proud to encourage transparency and be honest with your customers.
It seems I ended up writing my own top 5. Who knew.