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Growing pains: How to survive and thrive while growing your LSP

A growth journey is not everybody’s choice by default. For many business owners, having a business that reaches a certain level and gives them steady income is more than enough.

But for those that have clear ambitions and aspire to reach a certain value that will allow them to move to the next level or retire on a certain lifestyle, growing pains are real.

So whenever a business owner chooses to grow year-on-year, this must come with the clarity and acknowledgement that the growth journey will be very challenging and sometimes very hard.

This is why having the right supports and advice in place are vital to the process.

“Understanding what you want is a good starting point before you start thinking of anything else,” according to Olga Blasco, M&A Principal Partner at Lion People Global.

“Even after you choose to run a growth company, after you identify where the revenue is going to come from, after you decide what kind of client experience you want to offer, and even whether you want to add mergers and acquisitions to the mix, you also need to understand what it will take to get there, where you need to invest, the financing you need, the talent you need and how to manage all the moving parts and stay profitable in the process.”

With 25 years’ experience in the localization industry, working as a growth strategist and mentor, Olga has clear advice for those wishing to see continual growth in their LSP.

“In terms of growing pains, the typical issues that arise are that business partners or owners are not aligned with the goals or pace of how things need to happen and this can create friction,” Olga says.

“Or you realise that an acquisition will require a lot of work in order to give you the return that you expect, while there is a high probability that maybe some key people will work out disappointed.

“So this is why I think it’s a good idea to have a vivid picture of the sequence of events, the key investments and the changes that you need to get right, to get where you want to go.”

Continuous growth requires strong leadership and it is up to the owners, partners or executives to look at the big picture to guide the company and its team forward

“You have to have a specific 360˚-view of the entire setup in the cold light of day,” Olga says.

“Look at how each one of the areas is doing what needs to be done and what the priorities are, doing as a deep a dive as necessary, and then figure out how to communicate a way that makes sense and keeps everybody involved, motivated and engaged.

“And also be prepared to guide the process to make what looks very difficult, achievable.”

Consistent growth requires a healthy dose of realism and at times this can be challenging for business owners.

When we advise clients on M&A, a lot of the questions that we ask are not necessarily easy to answer. And teasing out those answers requires being able to challenge what we know or what we think we know.

“This is a really big lesson I learned in my life,” Olga says. “Maybe there are many things we don’t know, and we need to challenge ourselves to find out, to challenge our own echo chamber.

“Questions like, why would clients choose your company over another or not? Do you really know your competitors? What are the core competencies you’re strong at? What are the key opportunities for development that if you put your mind to it, you could develop something else that would put you ahead of the competition.

“And after that, comes figuring out how to put the right people in the right place, how to hire and develop talent, the technology that you need now and what you will need in the future, and the type of infrastructure and financial flexibility to achieve the real results that you’re looking for and to make the company a strong and sustainable business that makes a difference and that has the loyalty of clients and suppliers.

“And it all requires perseverance. It’s about the work that you do week after week, month after month, and measuring the results.

“Did it not happen? How well did we do with this? Are we running at the expected run rate? Should we review this goal? Should we prioritise this and leave the other thing for the following year?

“So all of these things, they require somebody extremely committed. Companies that are committed, they really make a lot of progress in a relatively short time.”

If you want to know more about this area, visit Lion People Global’s website where you can watch back our LT Talks series of videos where we have talked to some of the industry leaders in localization for their insights into the world of translation.

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