3 Pain Points of a Growing Business
Your Company is Expanding - Here's what you need to watch out for.
When you start a business, you nurture and build on it until it gets up and running — just like a child. In the process, you develop a team and culture that oftentimes acts as a second family. Everything is going great, numbers-wise… but then you suddenly realize the culture has changed, right under your nose. Or you have operational difficulties running the business as the volume increases. These are the so-called “problems of scale” that many entrepreneurs encounter as their business grows. Though some might call them “a good problem to have,” if left unaddressed, they can escalate to become major roadblocks to your continued success.
Processes, or systems, problems
That systems and processes that worked to manage ten employees more than likely will not work to manage thirty. As rapid growth ensues, the seemingly functional systems that were in place soon are not able to cut it. New systems must be created and implemented. To solve this problem, many new entrepreneurs tend to bring in new management resources because they feel like they cannot handle it themselves. Or they do try to tackle it themselves, but are not equipped with the right skill set. Finding the right solution is a delicate dance that can end with a beautiful finale — or in a terrible crash.
To learn about the process of shifting your systems, read 3 ways to spring clean your business.
New companies innovate. In fact, it’s probably why they’re in business. They innovated something so well that customers were delighted and therefore purchased the product or service. People get excited by what is new, fresh and different. But, sooner or later, somebody else will be doing the same thing and then you’ve lost your flair — unless you keep innovating. To often, growing companies get on their feet, start bringing in profits and forget to innovate. But, those who stop innovating and re-creating themselves will ultimately perish.
For more on how to innovate and consistently stay ahead of your competition, see Why do businesses fail?
Internal culture sets the tone for the entire organization — how you treat each other is also reflected in how you treat your customers, shareholders and everyone in your sphere of influence. When your internal culture is struggling, you cannot hide it; it will be revealed in one way or another.
As your company grows and you bring in more people, processes change and innovation suffers, you might begin to notice a change in disposition of your original employees. They may lack some of their initial spark or enthusiasm, or worse, become cliquey if they feel the workplace is being infiltrated by threatening “strangers.” Why? Because their feeling of significance decreases, and they now have to adjust to new processes, which can feel uncomfortable. As a result, a plethora of problems are born — from conflict to bad attitudes — and they can go from seeing you, their employer, as a foe rather than a friend.
Processes, innovation and cultural problems are all problems of scale. When a business is growing, these are the problems that arise. But, these problems can often be anticipated and avoided altogether if you know where you are in the lifecycle of your business. In each lifecycle — whether it’s a business at its birth, teenage or aging years — there are problems. When you know what stage you are in, you know what problems to expect and are able to solve them before they become a chronic issue.