There is constant pressure for business growth and expansion, and the entrepreneurial mindset fuels this.
However, businesses undergo evolutionary changes as they grow, and if they fail to make the structural and procedural adjustments to meet these changes they can suffer growing pains with potentially fatal consequences.
“If you end up running before you can walk you run the risk of taking a serious fall,” suggests Hywel Griffiths of APD Resolutions. “People want things to get bigger, but dealing with issues on a larger scale can expose a lack of basic preparation.”
Not all businesses are suited to growth, and not all business owners or managers are automatically suited to running a larger business as opposed to a small one.
“You have to determine when the right time is to push ahead, because how well you manage growth, and growing pains, may affect the future of your business”
Business growth pains are not restricted to people at the top. Individuals and departments can suffer from the excessive stress of work demands, without feeling they have sufficient time to get everything done.
“Often there’s an inability to say no,” remarks Hywel. “Every new opportunity is a chance for more growth, but this can mean ignoring the danger of taking on too much.”
The consequences filter down, affecting the morale of employees and helping create a culture of chaos where workload smothers structures and procedures either cannot cope, or do not yet exist to deal with the sheer amount of work.
“The result is damaged productivity, higher staff turnover, and pressure on the leader to keep things running no matter what,” Hywel warns.
If a business spends excessive amounts of time dealing with short-term crises it usually stems from a lack of long-term planning.
“The absence of strategy means having to put fires out all the time,” says Hywel. “Growth requires strategic planning, otherwise a company can find itself living from day to day, facing the unexpected and rushing around to meet sales targets.”
Lack of Vision and Poor Communication
If people working at a business do not understand where it is heading, or why it needs to change to grow, then this opacity can mean a lack of sufficient communication.
If this poor communication is combined with rapid change, the business risks losing its employees because it has failed to get across its vision for growth.
“Growing pains often expose flawed communication and inadequate leadership”
“There may be a lack of formal systems to channel information,” Hywel suggests, “or an unwillingness, or inability, to be open and transparent in communications.”
“Growth is challenging, and requires structural underpinning combined with a procedural eye for detail,” concludes Hywel.