Growth January 30, 2014 Last updated September 18th, 2018 969 Reads share

Challenges Of A Fast-Growing Business & How To Deal With Them

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A rapidly growing business is both good news and cause for concern because it requires you to substantially up your game. Your services have been appreciated but the expectations from you have also risen, sometimes exponentially. You need more resources to get work done, and with more resources comes the problem of managing it all effectively.

Following are some of the most common challenges faced by fast-growing businesses, along with suggestions on what you can do to keep on top of them.

Challenge #1: Need More and More Talent

Your employees are the life force of your business. They will determine the quality of your services, which is why you should do your best to hire the brightest people you can.

As your business expands, so will your need to have more people onboard. But you can only hire so many at one go. Finding the right people at the right time is a time-consuming process, if you want to take luck out of the equation. (Even the biggest companies take time to fill their positions with the best talent out there!)

What to do about it:

Jump on the freelance bandwagon

Letting people work for you from remote locations, even if not most desirable, is still better than burdening your current staff with heavy work. That way you won’t even have to say no to new contracts.

Design attractive HR policies

If you want to attract the best talent, you will have to become the best employer in some way or the other. Design work policies that will be attractive to potential employees. Give them flexible working hours if it helps matters. Be generous with compensation (as a rapidly growing business you don’t have an excuse to scrimp in this department!). Otherwise even if you do hire the right people you’ll have trouble holding on to them. Happy and satisfied employees are crucial to the long-term health of any business.

Don’t let your greed get the better of you

Yes, we used the word ambition instead of greed because when you consistently take on more work than your team can handle, you are being greedy.

It’s a good thing for a company to receive a lot of business, but not if it comes at the cost of overworking its employees. Keep working on hiring new people but in the meantime slow down on accepting more contracts for now, unless you have enough people for everything to be executed smoothly.

Challenge #2: Running out of Office Space

So your hiring is going well, but where to seat the new staff? You started out thinking you’d do well to have 50 employees in the first year of operation but are already looking at 70, which means you are going to have to look for a new place.

What to do about it:

There isn’t much you can do about this now except:-

  • Hunt for a new commercial property to accommodate the newly hired people.
  • But be smart about buying a new office. Don’t buy a property that can only seat 20-odd employees.
  • Think long-term and buy an office space big enough to be able to accommodate any staff you may hire for the next five years or so.
  • Another option is to sell your current office and move to a much bigger place en masse. This is advisable if you don’t want to spend your time travelling from one office to another. It will aid management and may well work out cheaper in the long run.

Challenge #3: A Drop in Productivity

Faltering customer service or delays in delivering results is tied to overworking your employees or taking on so much that you don’t have the time or people to supervise it all. If you notice a substantial rise in the number of complaints you receive, it’s a sign of a bigger problem.

At no point should the quality of your work dip. Customers don’t take kindly to substandard services or products. They came to you because you had something worthwhile to offer. They neither know nor care about your challenges. They have paid you in full, they now want you to deliver the best results. The question is – can you do it or not? No ifs and buts.

What to do about it:

Recognize your limits and work respecting them.

If you can’t fulfill an order straightaway, you need to let the client know about it beforehand. Contrary to what you think, this won’t make you look bad. Not fulfilling your promise, or compromising on the quality, will. The quality of work you deliver reflects on your credibility, which is the most precious currency in the world of business. You strove to build it, now you must strive to keep it.

Challenge #4: Rising Costs

We have been assuming until now that your challenges are all associated with demand for your services far outstripping what you can supply.

But not all challenges are of such a sweet nature. Have your overhead costs spiraled out of control? What are your profit margins looking like? If they are dwindling, you should sit up and take notice, because if you don’t any big expense can send your company into red.

Here’s what to do:

Don’t take on more debt.

Instead, “marshal internal resources for growth.” Implement cost-cutting measures to bring about a more acceptable equation between your expenses and your earnings. Taking on more work is a great idea, but only if you have sorted yourself out on the human resources front. Otherwise you may dig yourself into a bigger hole.

Images: ”Business to grow in the active high  / Shutterstock.com

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loridwagoner

loridwagoner

Lori Wagoner is a market research consultant. She advises small businesses on new ways to find local and national business. You can catch her on Twitter @loridwagoner.

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