In This Episode

One of the common refrains you’ll hear whether it be in business or life is something to the effect, “If you’re not growing you’re dying.”  A phrase like that can put a lot of pressure on a business owner to constantly be growing.  But what does this really mean to grow?  How do you plan for all of this growth?  And is it possible to have too much growth?

A good metaphor to keep in mind when running a business is that it’s like running a marathon.  While it may be tempting to take off quickly, you know you won’t be able to keep that pace up for more than a mile or two, let alone 26.2 miles.  That same thing can happen in business.  And eventually you will hit a wall.  Instead of setting personal records with each mile you traverse, you can barely put one foot in front of the other to keep moving.  Owning and running a small business can often feel like a bunch of wind sprints within this marathon.

So how do you as the owner prepare yourself and your business for growth?  And how do you figure out how much growth is too much growth?  Here are some ideas for where to start:

  • Profit Plan: if you’ve listened to our show at all you’ve probably heard us talk about MVP’s 7 Keys to Success, with a particular focus on the Profit Plan which helps you figure out how you’re going to make money on purpose. One of the beauties of a Profit Plan is that it incorporates everything going on in your business.  All your customers, employees, and vendors will show up in this plan.  And the question becomes, “Can we fulfill all of this demand that we see for our products and services?”
  • Systems: what systems do you have in place now? What systems do you need to get into place to help you manage all this growth?  Keep in mind that systems aren’t things you just set up once and let them go, they should constantly be maintained and improved. Systems include things like regular meetings.
  • People: while you may be up to the challenges of all this growth, does your team feel the same way? Is your team excited and on board with all of your growth plans?  Or is your team something that is going to hold you and your growth back?

It might sound counterintuitive but we’ve seen a lot of companies over the years “grow out of business”.  That’s right, kind of the opposite of “going out of business” due to a lack of demand for a particular product or service.  And it can happen quickly if you’re not paying attention as the variables increase and at some point you as the owner aren’t able to keep your hands around everything.  The key is to find that point of “sustainable” growth where you can comfortably grow each year and not feel like you’re having to drag yourself to that next mile marker in the marathon!

People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show