Growth is worshiped above all else in our business culture. After all, what could possibly be wrong with a company growing quarter after quarter?
Actually, quite a lot…
The growth and expansion phase is an exciting time for any small business. The primary goal of a startup is to get customers, deliver the product or service, and reach the break-even point as quickly as possible. According to conventional business plans, once the break-even point is achieved, profitability should follow.
For a lot of small businesses, the driver is rapid growth…
…and that can be a problem.
Businesses often underestimate the intense pressure that accompanies rapid business growth.
- You may face a cash flow crunch as it deals with increased demand for your services.
- Operational inefficiency because of uncontrolled expansion will cost your company time, money, and other resources.
- You start receiving a lot of negative feedback and/or cancelations due to customer service issues.
- Your employees are overworked, putting in long hours and getting ready to jump ship.
- Your ability to lead and manage falters as your work processes come under pressure from increasing demand.
In our current environment, #3 and #4 are the most dangerous.
Seth Godin said it best in a recent BLOG post…
Is it possible to care at scale?
“After 25 years, I stopped using a certain credit card for business. It was easily millions of dollars worth of transactions over that period. Did anyone at the company notice? Did anyone care?
I still remember losing a client in 1987. Small organizations pay attention and care very much about each and every customer. Verizon and AT&T, on the other hand, don’t even know that you and I exist.
Small family farms have significantly higher yields than neighboring farms that are much bigger. That’s because the individual farmer cares about every single stalk and frond, and the person with a lot of land is more focused on what they think of as the big picture.
But it’s pretty clear that if you add up enough small things, you get to the big one.
Caring at scale can’t be done by the CEO or a VP. But what these folks can do is create a culture that cares.
- They can hire people who are predisposed to care.
- They can pay attention to the people who care and measure things that matter instead of chasing the short term.
Large organizations have significant structural advantages. But the real impacts happen when they act like small ones.”
Growth is addictive. It makes everyone feel great in the short term, even as it may be worsening their long-term health.
How should a company target balanced growth?
There are some universal truths that every business should follow.
- Know your starting point
- Plan early, plan often
- Narrow your focus
- Rethink your motivations
- Improve the employee and client relationships
The key is directing your culture by a relentless focus on…
…Mission Vision and Core Values
Do not let sales quantity drive quality. Instead, by putting relationships and quality first you can align your team’s goals with your long-term strategy, you can create real, sustainable growth that won’t put your business at risk.
Be Well, Do Good Work, and Keep In Touch.
To Learn More Contact Fred at TrueWinds Consulting
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