So, you know where you're going and you know you are on track. You have an effective business plan and clear key performance indicators.

But while growth is great, it can sometimes lead to inefficiency. In an ideal world, when you employ a new salesperson your sales grow. Add a new administrator and your processing capacity increases. However, in reality a number of things can happen.
- Local market saturation means traditional salespeople have fewer prospects
- The larger the staff, the greater the time spent on internal management
- New staff are often initially less productive because they need to learn
- Staff administration systems tend to be required as staff numbers increase.

To reduce the possibility of diminishing returns following growth, you should carry out effective manpower planning and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there enough new business in the areas that my sales staff are targeting?
- Are there opportunities that existing staff are not trained to take advantage off?
- Am I abreast of my customers' requirements and competitors' activities?
- Are my back office systems and people robust enough to cope with an increase in sales?

Efficiency can be achieved in a number of ways:
- Speed up internal communications and reduce pressure on management time by reducing company hierarchies
- Prioritise activities between primary tasks and secondary tasks
- Make sure meetings focus on maximising profit and efficiency

Remember a few key principles when considering the business structure:
- It is helpful to ensure that there are specialist staff for specialist areas. Their expertise will reduce costs and increase revenue
- Ensure that the business structure is focused towards your objectives. One approach is to align your teams to particular client segments rather than functionally
- Create teams. Teams are often the key to successful business practice. It is often difficult for individuals to achieve the results of a multi-skilled team
- Encourage team spirit and a variety of work. Built into this can be the importance of personal development, and the opportunities to work across teams.

IT processes and a keen eye on expenses can help with efficiency as can a focus upon what staff are actually doing, how the business is aligned to your customers and what opportunities people have for personal growth and development.

This article was taken from CGU's Business Intelligence Report, The Cutting Edge – Part Two. Copies are available from your local CGU branch.