I began my career with Strategic Coach in 1991, and I was the sixth person to join the team. We worked in one large room, knew all of our clients personally, and also knew everything about each other. We could overhear one another’s conversations and always knew what was going on.
Four years later, we’d grown so quickly that our small entrepreneurial company was barely recognizable. We were working on different floors and we each had our own offices. Other team members were being hired to take over the responsibilities we were used to handling ourselves. And because we were more separate, communication and staying connected took much more time and effort.
I remember saying to a colleague at the time, “I think we’re getting too big. I think I might have to leave.” Looking back, I can’t help but laugh at myself but this was the first time I’d experienced the reality of growing pains.
So how do you go about managing a rapidly growing business? And what can you do to help your team embrace change and make sure success happens as painlessly as possible?
Here are three entrepreneurial struggles that often accompany rapid business growth, along with simple strategies to overcome them.
Growing pain #1: Isolation.
We all have team members who work on specialized activities and tasks. With a smaller team, it’s easier for everyone to connect and collaborate with one another. The bigger your organization gets, however, the more risk there is for team members to feel lonely and cut off from the business as a whole.
Strategy: Regularly check in with each and every team member. Are they happy? Are they engaged? Do they feel appreciated? Asking these questions helps ensure no one feels detached from where your company is headed.
And remind your team that all growth requires going through some periods of fear, uncertainty, and discomfort. Often, simply normalizing it and encouraging people to appreciate change can make a huge difference.
Growing pain #2: Scarcity mindset.
When your small business starts multiplying, people often get protective over their jobs, roles, and clients. They don’t believe there’s enough to go around and fail to realize that, as the company grows, there’s actually more opportunity—not less.
Strategy: Shift your team’s mindset to one of abundance. Help them to see that while there may be a loss of certain activities, there’s an increase in the time they can dedicate to the projects they want to focus on. They’ll have a lot more time for specializing, operating at a higher level, and making a bigger impact.
Growing pain #3: Loss of company culture.
With a smaller team, your company’s brand, values, and culture are obvious. However, as new people come in, they’ll bring different background experience, mindsets, and points of view on the world. It can’t be assumed that they’ll always acclimatize to your company’s way of operating.
Strategy: When managing a growing business, make sure you’re always communicating the “why” behind what you’re doing. Be clear on your goals and the impact you want to have. The hallmark of an engaged organization is that every single person on the team is crystal clear on the company’s vision and is aligned with your core values.
“The hallmark of an engaged organization is everyone is sold on the company’s vision.”
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As a growth-focused entrepreneur, you want to implement strategies in times of growth that build a sense of community and create more efficiency—these are the key to managing a growing business successfully. Team members will feel the sense of abundance and be excited for the future!