Column: Is It Worth the Risk to Keep Growing?

By Andi Gray

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Why should I keep trying to grow my business? It feels like bigger isn’t necessarily better or more profitable. Bigger = more employees, more issues, more headaches, more complexity, more cost, more risk.  Who needs that!

Thoughts of the Day: Businesses are either growing or declining. What you know for today isn’t necessarily sufficient to get you through tomorrow. With growth comes opportunity to get the load off your back. Learn how to hire, train, motivate, manage, reward and hold people accountable. Enforce standards.

It’s not possible to stand still for long. Costs keep climbing, for everything from production materials to office supplies to people and benefits. Without additional profits to cover cost increases, your business will be forced to make do with less and less of what it needs, and that puts you on track for an ugly downward spiral.

Watch out that feelings of being overwhelmed don’t get in the way of doing your job, which is figuring out how to keep your business ahead of the curve. If you truly believe that you can’t handle any more growth, do yourself and your business a favor. Take a vacation, hire some help, think about selling the business, or turn it over to someone with more ambition and drive. Don’t kill the business just because you’re worn out or don’t feel up to the challenge.

If you are prepared to keep going, think down the road one, two, three and more years. Set targets to keep your company on point. Figure out what’s needed to achieve profitable growth. Make a plan to get people and things in place before you need them.

As the business expands, you need more knowledge in order to keep up. Make time to read regularly. Take notes and put what you learn into action. Build an idea lab to test concepts. Design systems that can save time and effort.

Help current staff build skills. Pay for education and make sure every employee has a training plan. Show employees and managers how to use written plans to get to the next level.

When openings come up, hire the most experienced personnel you can afford. Learn how to recruit great talent that fits your business. Institute background checks and set up on-boarding systems to boost hiring success.

Look on the bright side. With more profitable revenue you can hire people to take things off of your plate. More depth, more cross training, more backup — all this comes with growth. And that means you get freed up.

More profitable revenue = ability to hire more experts to help you succeed. Reach out to people you admire and find out how they got where they wanted to go. Regularly interview potential advisors to learn how they can assist. Keep an eye on challenges that could require extra attention. Increase your development budget annually.

Master the people side of the business. Dedicate time and energy to improving your workforce. If someone gets stuck don’t ignore the problem; enlist additional support. Know when and how to move on if things don’t improve. If you’re unsure how to manage effectively, get instruction.

Accept that things will go wrong. Teach people that it’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s not okay to blindly repeat them. Learn from every failure. Hold everyone accountable for continuous improvement.

Set up an organization chart and practice chain of command. Get good at organizing regular, productive management meetings. Ask people to circulate written reports documenting how they’re doing.

Be clear about what you expect. Share a vision of where the company is going. Expect everyone around you to be fully on board and rowing hard.

Every successful business owner has had to master the skills of forecasting, leading, managing and strategic planning. No one expects you to be an expert right out of the box. But you are expected to be fully engaged with learning how to productively expand your business.

Looking for a good book? 33 1/3 Success Shortcuts I Wish Someone Had Taught Me Sooner, by David Jurewicz.

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles: AskAndi.com.

 

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About the author

Andi Gray
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., strategyleaders.com, a business consulting firm that specializes in helping small to midsize, privately held businesses achieve doubled revenues and tripled profits in repetitive growth cycles. Interested in learning how Strategy Leaders can help your business? Call now for a free consultation and diagnostic process: (877) 238-3535. Do you have a question for Andi? Email her: AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Visit AskAndi.com for an entire library of her articles.
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