Rapid Growth – the challenges for entrepreneurs

There are many challenges we face as entrepreneurs but the hardest of them all are the challenges of dealing with rapid growth in business.

Most entrepreneurs would love skyrocketing revenues, recruitment and training of new a team and the energy and excitement at work when your Midas touch turns everything to gold.

Unfortunately, we all know that during rapid growth the reality is not quite as idyllic as it might seem to the outside observer looking in.

If you are amid a whirlwind of a booming StartUp or riding the roller coaster as you start to ScaleUp managing and leading through periods of rapid growth is hard work.

But fear not, we have produced this short article give you some insight into the core challenges of navigating rapid growth.

As we’ve worked with growing businesses, we’ve found Six Common Big Challenges Created by rapid growth:

1. Slowly, slowly catch the monkey. When everything is moving at the speed of light it creates a buzz of excitement that stimulates the business to move faster and faster. This is great but it can also test the limits of the team that can cause friction. No one can work at 100% all the time and whilst working at 110% it is often the small cracks that develop into huge chasms. Remember, Speed Kills so allow time to pause before jumping from one activity to the next when cracks appear, stop and fix these cracks first, because if you don’t fix that small problem then it becomes bigger and bigger as you amplify your business.

2. Lists, lists and yet more lists. When your business is growing to ScaleUp it becomes far too easy to only focus on the next important task, that one thing. You must complete the recruitment ad, or marketing piece, or business plan. It is merely a list of things hitting your ‘to-do’ list one after another. The trouble here is that you become so short sighted that you lose focus of the big prize. Everything in your immediate foreground is crystal clear and you know what needs to be done before lunch, by close of business today and exactly what is needed for tomorrow. But anything involving your Big Goal is completely out of sight as you can’t align what you are doing right now with that goal. Step back, take time to reflect and allow yourself enough time every day to plan what you need to do today that will move you a step closer to your big goal.

3. Good is good enough. In some businesses, especially technology and software, the mantra of “good is good enough” is a misguided approach. Yes, you can never achieve perfection and to wait would mean that you will never launch. But by launching too early to ‘get to market and then improve” you will degrade the customer experience and this causes excessive rework once launched. Sub-standard work that seemed ‘good enough’ to you is often poor in the eyes of customer. This can damage your Brand, which can limit your future growth prospects.

4. System failure., people and processes breakdown. A business is merely a symbiotic relationship between people and processes. But as you push your team closer to 100% and even over then the processes around people can decay. Bringing in new customers becomes fast and furious and as workloads increase new hires are necessary. When recruiting under pressure then hiring screening filters are often loosened to get bums on seats. Often these are the wrong hires who do not fit culturally therefore they rock the team causing system failure and non-adherence to process causes cracks, which as we know grow into chasms when amplified.

5. You’re in charge now. When we ScaleUp for rapid growth, we often see what I call ‘battlefield promotion’. As the teams grow then someone, usually the best ‘technician’, is appointment a manager but given little or no managerial training. Under-trained and inadequate managers are often the cause of talent leaving an organisation and when your talent leaves then this disrupts and can halt your business growth. Inadequate managers can include you, the business owner and entrepreneur. This is one of the hardest challenges to accept as a business owner, that perhaps you are not the best person to lead your business.

6. Where is it all? For StartUps and when we ScaleUp for rapid growth there are two ingredients which usually disappear quickly, cash and profit. Often the entrepreneur becomes consumed by growing top line revenue and loses track of one why they are in business in the first place, to make cash and profit. When these are lacking then it causes yet more cracks but unfortunately, these ones are harder to fill.