Too Fast, Too Slow or Just Right
How fast should your business grow?
If you’ve ever tossed and turned all night trying to get comfortable enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep, you can probably relate to the challenge of finding the ideal pace for business growth. Some days it’s easy, others, it is next to impossible.
We each have different preferences for mattresses, whether you prefer foam, innerspring, a waterbed or even the floor – it’s up to you. Business owners have the same choices, only when it comes to growth, there is usually a lot more at stake than not disturbing your partner or making room for the dog.
Your growth rate impacts customers, employees, suppliers and of course, investors. They all have their own comfort zones. Trying to please everyone is like saying they all have to sleep on a mattress you chose.
Find Your Fit First
It’s impossible to please everyone, so please yourself first. Consider what’s best for the business and for you as an owner. What rate of growth best supports your strategic goals?
Here are some questions to help solve the puzzle:
- Will service quality suffer if we grow faster than our team can keep up? Will we lose valuable customers in the process?
- Does rapid growth mean cutting corners with products to keep up with demand? What will that do to our brand and reputation?
- Can I find and hire the right people fast enough? If not, and I comprimise on talent, what risks does that create?
- If growth is too slow, will I have to let employees go? Close offices? Stop investing in marketing (sabotaging future growth)?
- Are my employees loyal enough to stick out a slow period, or will I lose key people? How can I be sure they stay?
- Would it be best for us to slow down in order to shore up fundamentals, like culture, customer relationships and the product roadmap?
- If we deliberately slow our growth, we will lose favorable terms with suppliers? What will that mean to our bottom line?
- How can I effectively regulate growth to maintain the pace that’s best for the business?
It’s not easy to find and sustain the optimal growth rate. When you nail it, everything runs so smoothly you hardly even notice. Ironically, that’s exactly when you need to pay the closest attention![Tweet “Minor discomfort is a normal side effect of healthy growth. Pain is not. When #growth causes excessive stress, friction and errors, it’s time for change.”]
A little discomfort is a normal side effect of healthy growth. Pain is not. If your rate of growth causes excessive stress, friction and errors, that’s a sign that you’re growing too quickly or too slowly for your own good.
Attune yourself (and your metrics) to focus on times when your business is “in the zone.” You’ll see when the pace of growth is right and stop swinging wildly between too fast and too slow.
Snail photo by Aleš Čerin on FreeImages.com.