By Pete Peranzo
All businesses want to grow fast. They have big plans and ambitions for their brands. While growth is exciting, it can be challenging if it happens at a faster pace than expected. When a business grows too fast for its founders to keep up, it runs the risk of falling apart, unless handled carefully.
Scaling a business during times of rapid growth is especially challenging as it requires founders to focus on a number of factors that are continuously changing. When it comes to scaling, therefore, the magic is in planning. You need to have processes and solutions in place that facilitate scaling as the business soars. Combined with the right kind of technology in place, you would maximize your chances of scaling your business efficiently.
Observant business owners should have a general idea about the impending growth (or lull) in their business. It’s helpful to examine the business data daily in order to determine which way it is headed. Pay attention to even the slightest of spikes in the growth chart.
If you have plans of scaling during an upward curve, assess the data to know if you can handle the new workload efficiently. How much more can you handle with the current resources? Would you need a new office, new employees, new workstations or new software?
Automate as Much as You Can
Solutions-oriented technology can save you a ton of time and grief. Besides, automation is not just desirable, it is essential to stay competitive.
For your business as well as yourself, automate as many processes as you can. There are automation tools available to control all aspects of businesses – project management, marketing, social media management, communications, sales, ecommerce, payroll, etc.
Download productivity apps, such as Evernote, Any.Do, Casual Project Management, Basecamp, Google Drive, etc., to your mobile device to keep your thoughts and notes organized, and to share with your team as you move through the day.
The better and more reliable tools you have at your disposal, the greater the time you will save and efficiency your business will accomplish.
Prepare Your Staff
Staff at startups and small businesses are pretty stretched as it is. If you are going to be scaling and are also anticipating rapid growth, you need to inform your employees of the tighter schedules ahead.
Take stock of the number and the varying levels of skills of your workforce. Would your current people be able to meet the increased demand? Would you be willing to raise their salaries if you increase their workload? What else are you going to need? How many new people would you need to bring on board? How much time would you have to spend training them?
As the founder, you must be prepared to take on whatever role is needed during times of rapid growth.
This may involve working longer hours, learning new skills and sharpening existing ones. Busy schedules need detailed planning or you may find yourself cutting down on your sleep and skipping workouts at the gym. If there’s a medical condition that has been bugging you, have it checked. You would need to be at your fittest as you scale the business.
Also, don’t get so involved in the business side of things that you lose touch with the prevalent sentiment within your current workforce. You want to grow as a business, but you want to take your people along with you on this journey. The last thing you want to do is lose your best people during a busy time.
The same goes for your family and friends. Personal sacrifices are inevitable, but by keeping your loved ones in the loop you can reduce the chances of resentment.
Onwards and Upwards
It is a happy challenge to be scaling when you are also growing very fast. The key to doing this successfully lies in anticipating challenges and preparing for all aspects that are likely to be affected by, as well as impede or propel, this growth. Technology is your friend, and so is a proactive attitude.
Pete Peranzo is the CEO of Imaginovation, a full service, turn-key digital solutions company serving Raleigh, NC and Charlotte, NC. He is a results driven individual with over fifteen years in the IT and software industry. Pete’s background in customer support is a driving factor in the company’s long term success and reputation. He has embedded customer service into the company’s core culture, and feels that fast turnaround, great communication and high quality support are keys to long term business relationships. Follow him on Twitter @PetePeranzo.