How to deal with fast business growth

Kate Jones
@kateljnes

Like riding a rollercoaster with dodgy brakes, fast business growth can be pretty hair-raising. On the upside, consumers love the concept and sales are skyrocketing. But on the downside, it’s unanticipated and seemingly uncontrollable.

Fast growth need not be a one-way path to self-destruction. Here are five tips on how to fix fast growing pains.

Outsource

Many small business owners are by nature, control freaks. The business is their baby and they want it to develop, particularly in the early days, according to their vision.

But it’s this kind of autocratic ruling that can seriously damage a fledging company. Emma Lovell, co-founder of bassinet and stroller covers company Fly Babee says outsourcing to others is the only way to go.

“Understand that you can’t do everything,” she says.

“Focus on what you’re capable of and best at and outsource what you can afford - you may need to outsource before you can afford it.”

Focus on what you’re capable of and best at and outsource what you can afford...

Manage staff performance

During chaotic times of growth, staff management can fall to the wayside. Ensure your business is providing direction, guidance and support to staff or risk wasting money on rehiring, says Kirk Peterson, managing director at training company Performance Shift.

“This should be done for all staff on a regular basis to make sure we’re fulfilling the untapped potential from our people,” he says.

“Otherwise I frequently see additional costs of new heads being employed well before they are needed.”

Analyse marketing spend

Research where your clients are coming from and then decide the best marketing approach, says dentist Dr Frank Farrelly from Darlinghurst Dental.

“We’ve used many avenues for marketing,” he says.

“Some give consistent rewards at a reasonable price. Others give us no return at all and are a waste. Some are too expensive, outweighing the benefit of new customers.”

We in business are too busy to reflect, therefore we must create a culture of reflection so that we understand how we got to the successes and have a continual improvement mindset.

Create structure

Organisational structures and guidelines are what businesses lean on when the going gets tough.

“Make sure that there are procedures in place as soon as possible,” Lovell says.

“These may come after doing things badly, but sometimes that needs to happen in order to know the steps that need to take place.”

Reflect

Set regular time aside for you and your team to look at how the business has handled itself. Give praise where it’s due and work out what improvements are needed.

“We in business are too busy to reflect, therefore we must create a culture of reflection so that we understand how we got to the successes and have a continual improvement mindset,” Peterson says.

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

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