By Tracy Vides
Transitioning from the startup phase to rapid growth is one of the most exciting times for a company. As a business owner, there are most likely a lot of emotions including both excitement and nervousness running through your mind.
There are all kinds of intimidating statistics out there about how many businesses fail after X number of years. With these in mind, there can be a lot of “what ifs” when trying to survive rapid growth. If you’ve made it to this stage and have a couple or more years behind you, congratulations. But, don’t get too comfortable, the battle is just beginning.
Making it past this stage and into the promise land will require a good deal of courage, planning, and of course, adaptation. Here are a few key pointers for navigating these waters successfully.
1. Transition from Doing to Leading
Assuming you started your business from scratch, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time managing each individual task that comes with running your business. As you navigate through the hardship of bringing the startup phase into rapid growth, you will learn that managing each facet of your business down to a tee will drive you crazy. Therefore, you will need to make the switch to a more prominent leadership role leaving the brunt of the work to subordinates.
A company is only as good as its employees. With this in mind, when you transition through rapid growth, hiring the right managers to take care of the day-to-day tasks will be crucial in keeping your output at a strong level. Regardless of which roles need to be filled during rapid growth, investing in personnel is one of the most important tasks of a business owner.
Start by doing an in-depth reflection of your character. Be honest with yourself. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? Based on what you find, try to hire managers who can make up for your weaknesses and create an effective internal system.
Pinpointing the perfect candidates to help lead your company through rapid growth can be extremely difficult, especially when you need staff yesterday. Try using programs like SkillSurvey to help get a more accurate feel for potential managers before bringing them on full-time.
The surveys on this platform cover all sorts of categories ranging from competency to critical soft skills. From here, it uses predictive analytics to rank candidates and gives you a strong evaluation of what type of workers they will turn out to be.
The cost of staff turnover is far higher than business owners think. Do yourself a favor and take the time to find the right staff that can make your transition from micromanager to leader much smoother.
2. Keep the Customer Experience Front and Center
Regardless of what stage your business is in, compromising the customer experience is not only a sin, it can completely change the overall feel of your company from the outside perspective. With all the competition flooding the business landscape, there is no denying that we are in the “Age of the Customer.”
While there are many areas of your business that will see significant change in this phase, the customer experience should NEVER be compromised. If customers are no longer happy with the service you provide, they will have no problem moving on to your competitor.
Many businesses get through the startup phase using spreadsheets to track orders and client information. However, this strategy does not bode well for rapid growth. Once you get buried by new customer information, it can be extremely difficult to dig your way out. That is why it is vital to have a good CRM system in place to ensure you keep those precious relationships intact.
WorkflowMax is a phenomenal cloud-based project management CRM tool that enables you to seamlessly manage all tasks from A to Z.
WorkflowMax also offers integrated project management and time tracking so that you can report work completed and invoice clients with full transparency. It allows you to make sure your customer service desk is in constant communication with other departments. Combined with add-ons for Salesforce (CRM) and Google Drive (file sharing), WorkflowMax gives you everything you need to make sure a strong customer journey remains your top executional focus.
3. Promote Transparency
One of the biggest phenomena of the rapid growth stage is that your company culture will really begin to take shape. These cultures typically start at the top and work their way down. In other words, you will be at the helm in deciding what kind of atmosphere will exist within the walls of your workplace.
A happy, productive business is built on a foundation of open communication. Therefore, instilling the concept of company-wide transparency is essential in avoiding the dreaded high-turnover rate. This is very important in building trust and strong relationship among workers, management, and the company itself. In an environment where everyone is on the same page, open collaboration, creative thinking, learning, and problem solving will become more organic and there will be a lot less snags as you navigate through rapid growth.
This task, however, is much easier said than done. In fact, a study by TINYpulse found that only 42 percent of employees know their organization’s vision, mission, and cultural values. There is no set-in-stone formula for making transparency work for each and every business. But, there are certain things you can do make sure everyone in your company has a voice that will be heard.
Start by encouraging open and honest feedback for both employees and upper management. Use tools like Officevibe to set up evaluation forms that can be completed on a normal basis. Officevibe has a comprehensive set of over 350 industry-vetted questions, the answers to which will give you a better idea if employees are happy with your company’s culture, how it affects their productivity. Based on the results, the algorithm recommends activities that can keep employees happier, motivated and engaged.
This is one of the best ways to ensure your team is constantly growing and improving. Such feedback has the potential to reveal almost every point-of-view that exists in the company.
The rapid growth stage of business is an undoubtedly nerve-racking time in the life of a business owner. You will see all sorts of changes, and more development as a professional than you ever thought was possible. The way you handle these monumental shifts will determine how your business develops, or if it will even survive in the long run. Building strong fundamentals now is the most important thing you can do.
Tracy Vides is a content strategist and researcher who gives small business and entrepreneurs marketing and social media advice. Tracy is also a prolific blogger – her posts are featured on Tech Cocktail, She Owns It and Business 2 Community. Connect with her on Twitter @TracyVides for a chat anytime!