How to deal with an overwhelming business growth spurt

by Ana Lopez

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Change is a constant and fundamental aspect of business and our lives. It is something that is happening all around us all the time, whether we notice it or not. How companies, at any level of development, respond to change often determines whether or not they can survive and grow.

Like children, companies have different needs at different stages of their development. In times of rapid growth, entrepreneurs can become overwhelmed, as parents often feel during a child’s growth spurt. A company’s growth spurt, while exciting, can be chaotic and unpredictable, just like that of a baby or toddler. Research shows that 40-50% of startup founders eventually leave their own company due to the challenges of managing growth.

Related: How to keep up with a fast-growing company

What makes growth spurts so tricky to navigate?

While a business can be successful, the infrastructure is not necessarily set up to support rapid growth. Growth in sales, revenue, customers, leads, user acquisition, or demand can put a strain on a company’s managerial, financial, organizational, technical, or human infrastructure. A species that, if not treated properly or in time, can suffocate a company.

For example, we often see companies investing serial dollars in an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version of a technology product by outsourcing it to low-cost offshore development stores. Then comes the growth: Suddenly that product that they’ve invested so much in and built a user base or a customer base with, because it wasn’t developed to scale, collapses. This is going to be a very costly mistake – not only do they now have to invest to develop it from scratch, but they also have to keep that MVP on crutches and bandaids as they develop a more robust solution. It’s expensive, time consuming and risky, not to mention wasteful.

Scaling tensions can cause delays, disruptions, and dysfunction, all of which can lead to customer egress and lasting reputational damage.

Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to imagine the challenges that success can bring. How can success be bad? Well, in most cases, small business owners simply lack the experience or knowledge to properly manage a scaling process, often resulting in one of these three common behaviors:

  1. They recognize the need for experienced help when it is too late and the damage has already been done.

  2. They signal the need for help, but hire the wrong help.

  3. They seek appropriate help, but fail to make the necessary and often painful changes.

In my experience, most companies seek help when it’s too late and some damage has already been done; they are in trouble, drowning and in crisis mode. In fact, only about 1% of our customers act proactively, plan ahead for growth and prevent the problem from happening, compared to the 99% who simply react and seek help when the problem is already out of control and needs to be resolved. The most common reason is financial: Entrepreneurs are hesitant to set aside a significant amount of money to address a problem they don’t already have. In other cases, they may simply believe they can handle the growth on their own. The problem is that at that point, when we come in to help them, we have to keep flying the plane while we fix the burning engine – which only exacerbates the challenge for the company.

If a global health crisis has taught us anything, it’s that embracing change and proactively planning its implementation is critical to survival. By being proactive, companies can be better equipped to handle the unpredictable twists and turns of the business world.

So, how can entrepreneurs avoid and better address the challenges they inevitably face as they grow?

Related: How To Deal With A Sudden Growth Spurt In Your Business

1. Invest in leadership experts with relevant experience

According to a CBInsights analysisa significant proportion of companies go bankrupt because they do not have the right team. Fortunately, companies today have access to solutions such as fractional leadership that enable them to attract experienced and knowledgeable executives at a manageable cost to support their growth. These industry experts can help companies navigate the challenges associated with rapid growth, without the trial and error often associated with leadership in growing companies.

2. Take advantage of the advancements in the business landscape

The rise of remote working has opened up new opportunities for companies looking to attract top talent. According to Global workplace analysis, a majority of the working population (56%) can now work at least part-time from home. This revolution in remote work offers businesses the opportunity to access a larger pool of professionals with specialized industry expertise. By embracing remote working, companies can ensure they don’t compromise on quality or experience when it comes to managing their growth, but rather use the most appropriate assistance for their needs.

Related: Break through painful growth spurts by getting your business ready now

3. Leverage modern technology to simplify and streamline your business

Modern technology has made it easier for companies to support and manage their growth. Today, companies have access to a wide variety of tools that can help them work more efficiently. Tools such as CRM, Analytics, HRIS, Project Management, Time Tracking, Billing and e-commerce are available and accessible. By leveraging such tools, companies can streamline their internal processes and free up valuable time and resources to focus on driving growth. In fact, according to Monday. com54% of employees believe automation can help them save at least five hours a week by eliminating the need to perform mundane tasks.

Using these strategies will help businesses not only survive but thrive in the face of change, so don’t let rapid growth overwhelm your business. Take control and make it a success! Growing a business is never easy, but with proactive planning and a commitment to investing in the future of your business, the process can be rewarding and even enjoyable.

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