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After years of struggling to make ends meet, your business is finally booming. Old clients are referring new clients, new clients are taking notice and your staff can barely keep up with the influx of client-related tasks.
The boutique business model you worked so hard to create has worked better than you ever dreamed and you are nearly drowning in new business. The phone keeps ringing and the prospects for the future look incredibly bright. By all accounts, life couldn’t be better. So why is everything suddenly so challenging?
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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 as they work around the clock to manage a burgeoning workload. A behind-the-scenes balancing act is holding together an uneasy peace.
The growing pains are real and how your organization handles them will shape your company’s future. It’s a pivotal time for your team that must be addressed with care.
Proceed 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. With so many variables in play, 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.
Causes of failure
Let’s consider why startups collapse in the first place. According to a research brief by CBInsights, the causes for failure range from no market need, poor marketing and inadequate finances to having the wrong management team, burnout, legal challenges and a lack of passion among employees.
In other words, miscalculating your target market and personal capabilities can be disastrous.
Entrepreneurs who don’t do their homework and don’t adjust to ever-evolving market challenges are setting themselves up for failure during periods of growth. Successful businesses can pivot quickly in the face of a bad hire, a poor product or misguided decision whether they are experiencing a lull or a growth period.
For example, the smart luggage manufacturer Bluesmart shut down in 2018 after most major US airlines began requiring passengers to remove lithium-ion batteries from their checked luggage, CBInsights reported. The company couldn’t pivot because their product relied upon lithium-ion batteries to operate.
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In another instance, an e-commerce startup DoneByNone failed because of poor customer experiences. The company illustrated that getting distracted in the race to the top and forgetting your customers’ needs can be a company killer.
The CBInsights study shows that many companies nosedive when they don’t spend enough time talking to customers, rolling out features or getting feedback from clients. Squabbling over company goals, mission statements and management hierarchies can also sink a ship.
Preparation, planning and a careful evaluation of the existing marketplace will save you time, money and loads of disappointment during periods of rapid growth.
Stay true to core values
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 if it means navigating some bumps along the way.
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 because of growth.
- Hire carefully, making sure each new employee is inducted into the company culture. Introductions to existing employees are 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, video conferencing can be a good alternative.
- 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 one of the keys to successful growth. Startup CEOs and C-suite leaders rely upon devoted employees who will stick with him or her through thick and thin.
- Provide management and leadership training. Employees don’t instinctively know how to manage. Employers must invest in leadership training so when employees move into positions of authority they 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 hold on tight. Dig deep, ask for assistance if you need it and remember help is on the way. Growing pains are temporary and commitment to abiding by these principles ensures that the best is yet to come.
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