A growing business may seem like a dream come true, but many people don’t realize that it can bring challenges of its own. If you’re unprepared to deal with the changes, too much growth in too short a time can actually be a problem to be solved rather than an advantage.
It is possible for a business to grow too fast, especially if it’s moving from a small business to a larger one. This is because small businesses are less equipped to deal with the challenges brought about by growth than larger and more experienced corporations.
If you’re unsure of whether your business is moving too quickly, don’t worry. Here are a few signs that you should keep an eye out for.
Quality Standards Aren’t Being Met
Regardless of whether you deliver products or services, one thing that makes a business stand out from competitors is the quality of whatever it provides. Ideally, your products and/or services should go through quality assurance to ensure your employees are doing the best they can.
Businesses that grow too fast often compromise on this step to ensure that they are able to meet growing demands. If your quality standards aren’t being met, you will start to see a growing level of negative feedback and complaints. That is an obvious sign that the growth your business is experiencing is too rapid. It will not be sustainable, your reputation will suffer and customers will go elsewhere. It’s essential you put in place a quality assurance process as soon as possible.
You Don’t Have Space
Sometimes, rapid growth doesn’t just mean you don’t have mental and time-related space to meet your clients’ demands – it also means that you run out of physical space.
If you’re not ready to move to a larger office but find that your current one is too small for your business, you’re likely growing too fast. One option is to hire storage units to help you out.
Depending on your needs, you may need multiple units. However, it is possible to find cheaper storage units in bulk to rent. That said, keep in mind that this is a temporary solution. The only long-term solutions are to either invest in a larger workspace, change your business model to a more virtual approach or look for ways to slow down growth as you work to get ready for your move.
You’re in a Cash Flow Crunch
It’s another counterintuitive result of growing too fast – you don’t have enough money.
Selling a lot sounds like your business should be just fine in terms of cash flow. However, high sales also mean high demand and there is often a lag between increasing your stock and capacity and sales income.
High demand means you may need to invest more money in stock, manufacturing capabilities, invest in software, or expand your team and hire more people, all of which can raise overheads. These additional costs and overheads need to be paid out before you receive the income from the increased income from sales, meaning you’re facing a cash flow issue despite robust sales.
You Have Customer Service Issues
As businesses scale their business operations to meet growing demand, they often forget to scale their customer service team as well.
This, in turn, can result in your existing customer service associates becoming overwhelmed. They’ll be dealing with additional issues without having additional support to address this increase.
Additionally, as mentioned above, growing too fast can cause quality control issues – which can, in turn, lead to upset customers. If you offer to replace the services/products, you’ll then have your team under more stress to add a new project to their already swamped schedule.
All of these issues can cause problems with how you treat your customers and can lead to miffed clients or even a loss of valuable business. It’s essential to keep customer service and HR in mind as you work to meet the change in demand. While they don’t directly increase output, having people with good soft skills on your team makes it much easier to retain both valuable customers and talented staff members you rely on.
Fast growth may seem like a positive, but it has to be tempered by your business’s abilities to meet the changing demands on you and your employees. Having clear plans for what to do in case of rapid growth helps reduce the risk of this happening, as does ensure your business is as easily scalable as possible in the case of an emergency.
Many small businesses do not survive this stage due to the change in what is demanded from owners. However, having a plan and being ready to deal with such a situation should it ever arise can help ensure that both you and your company will be able to deal with this changing period easily and gracefully.