How to cope with growth » SMEInsider

How to cope with growth

Every start-up dreams of making it big and the chances are, your business plan is focused heavily on what you plan to do in order to expand. But rapid growth brings its own problems and, if you don’t know how to cope with them, these can be more fatal to your business than a sluggish start.

Here are five perspectives on coping with growth from insiders who have survived and thrived.

Balance internal with external growth

External growth–sales, customers, partnerships–is great but it needs to be complemented by internal growth: the company’s HR processes, personnel, and work culture. When I realised my HR processes were lagging, I focused my efforts to strengthen it. Today, my new hires spend their first week interviewing others for a clear view of everyone’s roles. And these HR processes have been necessary in managing rapid growth.”

– R.J. Lewis, President and CEO, eHealthcare Solutions

Prepare for expansion

To better service clients, we plan on adding about 8-10 staff over the next two years. While we’re not ‘bursting at the seams,’ if business continues to grow at the same rate, we could have a problem. So instead of renting the office space, I decided to approach my landlord about buying the entire 18,500 sq. ft. building. Now, I rent out approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and office space. The mortgage on the building is less than what I was paying in rent and the tenant revenue is gravy!”

– Jeff Cooper, President and CEO, Expo Logic

Scale and automate

“I’ve been successfully able to scale up my businesses through automation. By automating daily processes, I didn’t need to hire as many staff during an expansion, which actually means more cash flow to my business and not just more expense!”

– Dan Abbate, CEO, Robotaton

Know where you’re going

In order to grow, you need to know where you’re going. For us, expansion has meant not being afraid to expand into new areas and having the right people in the right places. A large part of our vision of expansion is rooted in a keen belief in staff mentoring and developing the right company culture. Knowing where and how to expand has seen our company maintain great client relationships, ensuring our continuing success.”

– Penny Spencer,  Managing Director, Spencer Travel

The “Bench Philosophy”

“When new clients come on board but our current team is operating at capacity, we don’t scramble, make forced decisions, or slow down. We have a bench of five cherry-picked ‘All-Stars’ are ready to step in so we don’t miss a beat. Our ‘reserves’ are not just fully vetted, oftentimes they have already signed contracts. This philosophy ensures consistency in our deliverables, while we grow, without overtaxing our resources.”

– Caryn Kopp, “Chief Door Opener”, Kopp Consulting