There isn’t a business owner who has gone through a growth phase, who hasn’t wondered whether growing their business is really worth all the headaches that come with it.
Companies grow in spurts and then plateau for a period of time, until the next spurt comes along. During each spurt it requires the business owner and the people in the company to make changes in how they operate, to be able to manage the increase in business. If they don’t adapt, then at some point the business will stifle.
Companies have to continually adapt if they hope to stay viable. What makes growth spurts so challenging is that it requires you to reflect on what is important for you personally and in your company. It requires you to change somethings and to make compromises.
Whether a product or a service, at some point the people in a business must change what they believe is important in order to be able to scale the business. For example, the owner who continues to believe they must personally manage every client, will cap their business at that level.
As a business grows, there comes a point when the founders don’t have the time to personally inspect every item, to meet every customer or to manage every purchase. For many small business owners, the things that generally made the business successful in the first place, become the downfalls when it comes to growth. It is usually the level of personal engagement and the attention to detail that set them apart in the beginning, but as the company grows it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the standard and the quality of products or services can suffer.
Recognize, there is a large gap between poor quality and an over obsession with quality on the other side. It is your job as a business owner or leader to be able to navigate the waters that lies between these two banks.
- Get to know what is really important to your customers. There are specific reasons your customers choose to come to you and they might be quite different from what you believe. Take the time to understand what makes the difference for them and you know what product or service attributes are critical.
- Look for ways to transfer you to your team. If you are front and center all the time, then no one gets to know and see the people behind you. Taking the time to showcase their skills and talents demonstrates your endorsement of them. Chances are if you endorse them, then your customers will also love them.
- “Change is good, donkey”. You need to be prepared to embrace the changes that come with growth. While things are going to be different, not all change is bad. As companies grow, they also become much more innovative, so you as the leader need to look to the future, rather than trying to hang onto the past.
Quality doesn’t have to be the casualty in the business growth game. Growth does require you to look at what you are doing in a different light and in doing so, it can hold the key to even better products and services for your customers, over the long haul.