Let’s say that after years of struggling to make ends meet, your business is finally booming. Old clients are referring new clients, new clients are paying attention, and your staff can barely keep up.
The boutique business model you worked so hard to create has worked better than you ever dreamed and you are flooded by new clients. The phone is ringing off the hook and the prospects for the future look incredibly positive. By all accounts, this is what you were striving for. So why is everything suddenly so difficult?
Perhaps just when a robust workforce is more important than ever, some of your best talent is quitting. The rest of your staff is stressed to the max. A behind-the-scenes balancing act is holding together an uneasy peace.
Such growing pains are real and how your organization handles them will shape your company’s future. It’s a pivotal time for both personal and organizational growth.
Proceeding with caution
During these periods of rapid growth, companies need to hire quickly to accommodate the increasing workload, but it is important to be smart about it. Statistics on the long-term success rate for startups are not in your favor. According to Fundera, 20 percent of small businesses fail the first year, 30 percent fail the second year, 50 percent fail within the fifth year of business and 70 percent fail by their tenth year.
Why do startups collapse in the first place? According to a research brief by CBInsights, the causes for failure range from a lack of market need, poor marketing and inadequate finances to having the wrong management team, burnout, legal challenges and a lack of passion among employees.
Entrepreneurs who don’t do their homework and don’t adjust to ever-evolving challenges are setting themselves up for failure. Successful businesses on the other hand will pivot quickly in the face of a bad hire, a poor product or misguided decision irrespective of whether they are experiencing a lull or a growth period.
The CBInsights study shows that many companies nosedive when they don’t spend enough time talking to customers or getting feedback from clients. Disagreements over company goals, mission statements and management hierarchies can also sabotage your operation.
Preparation, planning and a careful evaluation of the existing marketplace will save you time, money and loads of disappointment during periods of rapid growth.
The best way to make sure you are on track is to retain your company’s core values, no matter how fast or slow your organization grows. A company’s core values are its roadmap to success and will steer the organization in the right direction, even during a rocky patch.
If you built your company’s reputation on top-notch customer service, then stay the course and make sure you continue to provide the same quality of goods or services that vaulted you to success.
Here are 4 tips to manage growing pains as you progress to the next level:
- Create mechanisms for quality control. The products or services that got you to the top should never suffer, even during periods of growth.
- Hire carefully, making sure each new employee is inducted into the company culture. Introductions to existing employees are especially important when so many people are working remotely, and it is easy to feel disconnected. If face-to-face introductions are out of the question, try video conferencing.
- Show appreciation to people who have been with you through the ups and downs of the company’s earliest days. Loyalty to those who helped you get where you are today is key. Startup CEOs and C-suite leaders rely upon devoted employees who will stick with him or her through lean times.
- Provide management and leadership training. Employees don’t instinctively know how to manage. Employers must invest in leadership training so that new employees can learn how to effectively manage others.
If your company has reached that sweet spot in growth where business is booming, staffing is lean and work is piling up, then dig in, ask for assistance if you need it and remember that help is on the way. Growing pains are always temporary and commitment to abiding by the above principles is the best way to ensure that your organization will move forward.