How to Keep Pace With a Fast-Growing Business
Growing at a rapid pace may sound like an entrepreneur's dream, but it can definitely be challenging. Learn how to overcome the challenges and still move full-speed ahead.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, despite the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was a record year for new business formation. The startup trend continued into 2021 and is still going strong.
Fortunately, that's also led to rapid growth (over 200%) for my company CorpNet, which provides business incorporation, LLC filings and corporate compliance services nationwide. This isn't our first success, but with each experience, there are new lessons to learn and share, especially in a world pivoting to a "new normal." Here are five lessons I've learned.
Lesson #1: Be flexible
When the shelter in place orders went into effect in 2020, many businesses had to suddenly scramble and set up remote workplaces to accommodate employees. If you've never had employees work from home, then the shift to running a virtual operation may seem overwhelming and impossible to accomplish.
But, as with most challenges small business owners face, being prepared to pivot and immediately respond to market demands is key to ongoing success — whether that's an unexpected relocation or sudden growth surge.
With technology comes a greater ability to be flexible. If, for instance, you or an employee needs access to an important file in the middle of the night, keeping company resources in the cloud makes location and working hours a nonissue. Having the right technology is essential to keep your company on the fast track. To maintain that traction, it may be necessary to invest in new technology, especially for employees whose homes may not be adequately equipped for work.
Lesson #2: Handle growing pains
Growing pains come with fast growth. And like many businesses in the last few years, our biggest challenge was finding and hiring talent to handle the increased workload.
Like those overloaded companies, our current staff met the challenge of fulfilling orders and meeting clients' deadlines by working frequent late nights, fueled by lots of caffeine. Once you onboard new employees, it's critical that you don't neglect to handle the increased workload while training them. Fortunately, once again, technology can solve that challenge. Identifying repetitive responsibilities that can be automated will save hours of tedious task handling.
Lesson #3: Delegate more
At some point, most small business owners realize they can't possibly do it all themselves. In a fast-growing company, this realization means you need to take urgent action. If you try to control everything, you're just holding your company back from success.
Assess your company structure. We changed our management structure and created more leadership positions while assuming a more strategic role, focusing on perfecting our back-end CRM, developing software, and adding automation. If you've hired new staff, consider establishing support systems and mentoring opportunities for employees. At some point, you may need to create an HR department (we did).
As you grow, it's crucial to create a management bench and share your institutional knowledge with them. Try to make every assignment a teaching moment. This gives you empowered, competent employees — and more free time to work on growth strategies.
Lesson #4: Create a supportive corporate culture
As a family-owned and -run business, we strive to work and live by a set of values that benefits our entire team — from entry-level to executive. No matter how big your company grows, you must continue to embrace your values. It's not only the right thing to do, but companies with a strong culture and a higher purpose perform better in the long run.
As your company expands, it's essential to ensure your culture remains alive and well. Here are some values to incorporate and foster in your company culture:
- Pursuing continuous growth & learning
- Giving 150% effort
- Being flexible, adaptable, and teachable
- Integrity without compromise
- Creating fun and staying a little weird
Lesson #5: Stay true to your values
If you're lucky, you will experience many growth surges during the life of your business. But it's likely, that you'll also struggle to hang on sometimes. Through it all, know that with faith and trust, plus hard work and persistence, anything is possible — even the impossible.
Whether you have 10 employees or grow to a staff of hundreds, I hope you stick to your values, remain true to yourself, treat others how you want to be treated and be kind, loving and generous to people no matter what.
One thing that never changes: No matter how successful you become, this world needs more love and kindness. And it's crucial we share that with one another.
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