Many entrepreneurs think that as long as they get through the initial infancy period of their business, the hardest times will be behind them. However, many organizations cope okay with the early start-up phase but get stuck and go downhill once they try to expand, particularly if this involves quick growth.
It’s vital, then, to navigate the building phases carefully and minimize growing pains. There are key strategies you can follow to handle the issues of expansion in your business today.
While you likely rely on your gut instincts frequently as an entrepreneur, when dealing with growing pains, focus on data, too. To make effective, critical decisions that will see your business through over the coming years, collect, organize, and analyze data on different topics.
Data is solid and factual and not based on emotions or guesses. According to sports analysis and investing company Ghost Insights, it’s a better predictor of future results and will help you see the best ways to move forward. The intelligence you glean from detailed data makes it easier to make intelligent decisions, and to do so quickly, and in real-time.
The data you examine depends on many factors, but there are some things all organizations must look at. For example, learn about your customers, sales, spending, profits, cash flow, and other financial details.
Learn what you’re spending on various marketing strategies and the results you’re getting from each, and ensure you know the value you’re getting from each employee, too. Plus, check out benchmark data for your industry so you can see how you compare. Companies such as Coupa provide information on numerous helpful benchmarking factors.
Get Clear on Roles, Responsibilities, and Goals
Many business owners get into trouble as their organizations grow because they haven’t thought enough about everyone’s roles and responsibilities. If you haven’t discussed these factors with your partners or considered them carefully for yourself, now is the time to do so. It will be next to impossible to overcome business growing pains without setting guidelines.
Each key player in the business, including owners and top managers, should be clear about their roles and their responsibilities to the venture and each other. Create contracts or otherwise document these details. With everyone focused on what they have to do, the business can better deal with its growing pains. You’ll avoid getting caught up with bottlenecks at the top tiers of management.
You also won’t navigate growth issues if you don’t have set goals in place. Be clear about what you want to achieve with the company, and communicate this to your managers and team leaders. Once everyone is working towards the same goals, it’s easier for all personnel to stay on track and focus on the right things. Coming back to goals often also reduces the risk of saying yes to opportunities that don’t align with the long-term vision for the company as it grows.
Invest in the Right People
Another way to ensure growing pains don’t lead to a firm’s demise is to invest in the right people. As a venture grows, so too does the need for more employees and contractors, and access to other knowledge and skills. To keep things afloat, choose the right people to bring into your team or to consult.
Rapid growth can mean you’re looking for additional staff ASAP, but don’t let this rush you into making decisions about whom to hire. It’s always better to find the right person to help move the company forward, rather than getting stuck with someone who’s the wrong fit and causes more harm than good.
Grow as a Leader
When your business grows, you need to grow as a leader and entrepreneur, too. After all, the skills that got you to here likely won’t be the same ones that get you to the next pinnacle for your organization. As you expand your workforce, sell to more clients, build on your range, and start dealing with increased money coming in and out, you need more knowledge and skills to handle the new responsibilities.
To handle business growing pains, therefore, learn more. Work out how to be a better leader, delegate more often, keep abreast of market and industry developments, manage your time more effectively, avoid burnout, and learn from your mistakes. The better equipped you are to deal with an expanding venture, the fewer issues the business growth should create.
You want your company to grow as quickly as possible, but it’s important to understand and plan for some of the tough times that may come. Follow the tips above, and you’ll better deal with changes and ensure your business continues to kick goals now and into the future.