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How to Handle Rapid Small Business Growth
Many small business owners view a sudden surge in their growth rate as a great situation. They enjoy widespread brand awareness, see an increasing number of orders come in and have an immediate boost in cash flow. If you're caught off-guard by increased demand, small business growth can turn into a damaging force for your company. You need to have a strategy to handle this occurrence before it happens.
How much of your infrastructure would buckle under the pressure of rapid growth? When you first start out, you may put policies, technology and procedures in place that work with the resources you have available. They probably won't be optimal in the long-term, but they made the most sense at the time.
Have a plan to move away from non-scalable practices as quickly as possible. You can't always predict when you'll experience rapid growth. For example, going viral on a social media site could bring you thousands of new customers overnight. Start with the systems most likely to suffer in this situation, such as your web servers, then move down the priority list until everything is ready to scale.
You may end up with many times higher cash flow than what you're accustomed to. The temptation to increase your spending is difficult to avoid. A common pitfall for businesses occurs when you increase your expenses exponentially during an expansion. If you can't sustain the new growth rate, your revenue drops, but you still have all the outgoing funds. A small business loan is one option for solutions to small business growth.
When you start your small business, you have a small team that put business processes together to accommodate the way they worked. They took on many tasks that don't necessarily match their job descriptions. The structure of your business developed around this operating reality. Once you're more established, you encounter many inefficiencies in the way that everyone accomplishes their job tasks. Some people are still burdened by the processes that take them outside of their priority tasks. Examine your current business processes from top to bottom and look for redundant, repetitive or otherwise inefficient procedures in place.
This small business is your baby. You're the person that got it started, watched it grow and are driving it forward towards success. Your emotional investment is understandable, but it often leads small business owners to try to handle too many things personally. Wearing many hats is an excellent way to get your operation off the ground. If you try to do it during rapid growth periods, you end up stretched too thin.
You're the leader of the company, so you need to delegate tasks that don't directly contribute to this purpose. While you don't want to disconnect entirely from the day to day business, you should spend the majority of your time focusing on strategic decision making. Take advantage of your top down view to guide the entire company through your rapid growth.
Sudden popularity is a double-edged sword, but you can minimize the dangers of small business growth by preparing for it before it happens. When you have the right systems, policies and people in place to scale with these opportunities, you end up taking your small business to places that you may not have imagined before.