As business owners we crave rapid growth. However often when we get it things go to hell and some us even crash and burn from it. Here I illustrate some of the common growing pains to watch for or prepare for during times of rapid business growth.
I hate to say this, but some staff are great (or appear to be) when your small with little hustle to daily operations. However when things start to go ballistic these formerly helpful staff almost seem to sabotage your business. Whether these staff let you down on purpose or just aren't cut out for a high energy situation you need to be on the look out for them and quickly and decisively take action. Sadly loyalty can often be your down fall as a business owner in this situation. Remember to thank them for their service, but when its not working cut your losses.
You are totally unprepared for all the new clients and you just end up clogging your overwhelmed system and pissing everyone off. Don't just take on clients for the sake of it. Take on what you can manage and just a little bit more. Prepare in advance systems and procedures. Have extra staff, shipping, product supply chains in the waiting if needed.
This is a funny one that can bite you in the backside real fast. Things are going great you have more sales than ever. All of a sudden you can't pay wages or for stock! What the hell you think is someone stealing from me. No your rapid growth has sucked up all your working cash. Normally this is from having to hold extra stock to allow for the extra sales. However the same can happen for services and staff. The trick is to either manage growth so it is slower and more consistent, turn people away short term if needed. The other option is to carefully consider an overdraft or some type of financing for product. Note: Make sure your note loosing money from bad management or delusional about your position before taking on debt.
Often this can happen and things can come crashing down real fast. Don't assume because you have grown along with the business all your staff have the same knowledge as you. Make sure all staff are up to date with what needs to be done. Create operating procedure books for staff to refer to. Make sure all new staff are mentored and competent in their tasks before left to operator without direct management. Deal with this in advance rather than after you have the problem. There are professionals who specialise in it if you don't have time.
Bottlenecks will strangle your business to death. Often the worst bottleneck is the former small business owner. You've become so used to do everything you have kept doing it by proxy. Not allowing anyone to operate without micro management. Make sure you have the right staff in place (see point 1.). Staff positions may need to change to suit the new business structure. You need to be able to manage the business from above not strangle it from within.