When you start your own business, you usually dream of it becoming something "big." You might fantasize about the day when a huge celebrity decides to endorse your product, or a time when you can sit on the beach while your employees keep the business running smoothly.
But are you really prepared for that? When you’re a small startup, managing three or four employees seems like a piece of cake. But as you start to grow -- and fast --things can get out of control quickly.
In the early stages of your business, how can you prepare for unexpected expansion? Here are a few proven methods to succeed when faced with fast, sudden growth:
- Adjust to the new volume. Whether you've taken on more clients than ever before or started producing more products than you anticipated, there will be an adjustment period. Make sure your staff is properly trained for this unexpected growth to ensure future success for your organization.
- Get a mentor – or two. These folks can help guide you through the challenges of entrepreneurship. They might be someone you connect with on a personal level, too. They can help you refine your business strategy, introduce you to influential individuals in your industry, and help you maintain a healthy work-life balance when you’re overworking yourself.
- Enlist a business advisory board. Think about the different audiences your company serves and reach out to experts in those areas. These advisors can help you perfect your efforts to best serve each customer segment and can also provide much-needed business advice.
- Start delegating. No matter how much you love your business, there comes a point when you have to let go of some control in certain aspects of your company. Whether it means finally hiring an assistant, outsourcing a task such as graphic design, or bringing on additional worker or two, you have to trust others to get the work done because you won't be able to do it all.This might be difficult, emotional, or even downright terrifying, but it's an essential thing to do to maintain growth. In fact, the task might even get done more efficiently if you give it to someone else with less on his or her plate.
- Hire virtual workers. Expand your business across the country by hiring folks to work from their computer. This saves on overhead costs (no need to pay for expensive office space) and allows you to source the best talent available.
- Get rid of dead weight. Although you might be attached to certain customers or employees, there comes a point when you have to look at what's best for your business. Is someone not pulling his or her weight on the team? It might be best to replace them. Do you have a customer who takes up all of your time with small requests, causing you to neglect other clients? Cut the strings and let them go. If there’s something that’s holding you back, talk with a trusted mentor to determine the best course of action to keep your business thriving.
Did your business grow faster than expected? What did you do about it? Share your story in the comments below!
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth.