Congratulations, your business is growing! All the hard work is finally paying off and you are starting to see validation for all your efforts. Things are finally getting easier — or are they?
As the founder of a growing business you’re most likely facing a set of challenges that are now completely different from those you faced when you were starting out. This is normal and to be expected.
Over the last few years of advising founders, it has become quite clear to me that these problems are more common than you might think.
The good news about common problems is that there are often common solutions. With this I have put together a list of practical tips that will help guide you through some of the growth pains you’re facing.
1. To assume is to make an ASS out of U and ME — or is it?
The adage that it’s bad to assume things isn’t always necessarily true.
Assumptions are only dangerous if they aren’t fully understood and acknowledged. As founders you will need to make assumptions about your market, the problem you’re solving, and the solution you are offering. This is unavoidable as you will never have all the information you need.
By building out a body of testable hypotheses you can then take steps to turn these assumptions into facts. Over time, this approach will help you build a body of evidence from which to base your strategic thinking over time.
2. You’ve hired your staff, so use them.
It’s simple. Your people build your product, your product drives your growth, your growth drives your profits.
The people within your organisation are the largest investment your business will ever make. Making sure they are happy, challenged, and have an environment they can excel in will ensure your product, customers, and profit requirements are met.
3. Leverage communities to solve problems.
Businesses that are growing tend to have communities that align with their core business values. These communities are some of the most powerful tools you can use for problem solving.
As a founder, you shouldn’t feel the need to bear the burden of all your problems. Using the collective brain power of such communities can be a very efficient way to solve core problems you face.
4. Be as flexible as you can without tying yourself in a knot.
Flexibility is often misinterpreted as unsureness, but it is critical for adapting and moving your company as it grows.
Don’t be too quick to make decisions that limit your ability to change and adapt for the comfort of certainty. This may include investing heavily in a particular strategy or deciding to bring on investor money unnecessarily. You will achieve certainty by doing both, but you will limit your ability to move with the unexpected, should the need arise.
By prioritising flexibility over certainty, you will ensure you can better handle the uncertainty you will inevitably face.
5. If you’re doing something worth talking about, then let others do the talking for you.
Letting your work speak for itself is far more convincing than any self-promotion, especially early on. A good barometer of the value you are providing is the number of delighted customers talking about your product on your behalf.
If your customers aren’t singing about your product or your company, then no amount of self-promotion will change this.
6. Focus on what’s right, not what’s wrong
There’s an adage in golf; if you tell yourself there’s water on the right, you’ll hit right.
It’s important to focus on what you can control and what will have a net positive effect on your business, not what could kill it. It will not only help your personal sanity, but it will help motivate your staff and ensure you’re all focused on building towards a positive future.
7. Improve your processes to improve your product.
Good companies validate their customer’s needs and build products or services to satisfy these needs. Great companies also review how they develop and deliver products or services and continually search for improvements in delivery. The best companies empower their staff to make these delivery improvements to the processes they use for optimum product development and performance.
8. Prioritise stability in your personal life to counter the uncertainty in your professional life.
We only have so much capacity for dealing with uncertainty and chaos. Maintaining a stable personal life is one of the best ways to ensure you can handle all the uncertainty your business will bring.
Friends, family and spouses are vital for the emotional and physical support you will need to grow a business. Make sure they are prioritised and appreciated.
About the author — Aidan Kenealy
My mission is to help those with high growth businesses realise their vision for success. I draw from the unique lessons learned growing EMGN to help founders and CEOs get the best out of what their businesses can be.
If you would like to discuss how I can help you and your business — please reach out via LinkedIn or email firstname.lastname@example.org