Corporate Advice: The Dangers Of Business Growth

In today’s tough business world, it’s difficult for a business to survive so when a company succeeds it is truly something special. But there are dangers that come with such growth, dangers that if you are unaware of will turn your success against you.
16 Feb 2019 12:38
Corporate Advice: The Dangers Of Business Growth

There’s something special about being part of a fast-growing company.

As new business comes in and profits rise new opportunities are available for those high performers.

A small team becomes a medium sized team which then becomes a large team.

In today’s tough business world, it’s difficult for a business to survive so when a company succeeds it is truly something special.

But there are dangers that come with such growth, dangers that if you are unaware of will turn your success against you.

I work with a lot of companies helping them develop their leaders and among these companies

I’ve worked with some companies who have had to deal with sudden growth over a short period of time.

Whether it’s growing from a team of six to a team of 30 or from a team of 30 to a team of a hundred.

I’ve had the honour of helping these companies navigate the hidden dangers that await them.

In this week’s article, I want to share with you what these dangers are and how to overcome them.

Your workplace culture will change

Every business has a workplace culture, the environment that is created for its employees.

The culture defines how people should act, what behaviours are acceptable and what behaviours are unacceptable.

The best way to describe a workplace culture is that it’s the personality of the business.

When a company is small the culture is clear.

You don’t have to write down any company values or put up any signs on the wall because there are such a few people.

It’s very obvious the type of place you are working because you are working alongside the boss or even the owner.

Yet when the team gets larger things get very different.

With every new person joining the team the culture changes slightly.

When a lot of people join in a short period of time the culture can change dramatically.

Before people are even aware of it.

When growing fast you need to focus on maintaining the culture.

As you get larger you need to clearly articulate the culture you want, the personality of the business, what’s important and what’s not.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time creating manuals for people to read.

But it does mean you have to be very aware of what you reward and what you punish because what behaviours are awarded are reinforced.

You will need a different type of employee

When you are a small company, to succeed it’s all about being proactive and highly adaptive to a changing business world.

So the employees you want onboard are just that, people who are willing to work without structure, they are willing to do that little bit more when required.

When a company gets larger the focus is more proactive, retaining business is just as important as winning new business.

You need structure and policies in order to reap the benefits of economies of scale.

Medium sized and large companies attract a different type of employee, one with a different set of expectations of what they can expect from their employer and what they should give as an employee.

A small team needs everyone to a be star performer.

Yet in a large team if everyone is a star then that creates a highly dysfunctional team when internal competition becomes so much that the team tears itself apart.

When growing you need to change your idea of who you want to come and work with you, be prepared to accept a different type of employee.

Look for experienced people from larger companies who can help you shortcut the learning experience.

And if they are not the unstructured spontaneous people you had before and they expect more structure that’s fine.

Because what you need now is different to what you needed in the past.

You need an endgame

Here in my opinion is the most valuable piece of advice that growing businesses need to embrace and that is you need an end game.

I’ve seen many very smart and successful people who build a business from small into something quite special.

But it grows so much that it evolves into something that they didn’t want it to become.

I’ve seen very successful and smart people become very miserable because of their success.

I’ve seen entrepreneurs who enjoy the struggle of a small business and when they overcome those struggles become disenchanted when they find themselves in a big business.

I’ve seen leaders who enjoy having a small team and getting directly involved in the business.

Yet when that business grows the leader needs to focus more on strategy and forward planning and not every leader likes that type of work let alone enjoy it.

You need an endgame because if you don’t you will find your endgame is more and more work until it’s too much even for you.

It’s exiting to grow a business but you need to know where it’s heading, what it will be like when you reach that destination not only for the business but also for you personally.

Most businesses approach future planning like the equivalent of jumping in your car for a holiday and saying let’s go in that direction.

The most successful journeys starts from a clear point and has a clear end destination.

That’s why you need an endgame.

One of the biggest obstacles to future success is being successful today without an end game.

This is because with every step forward comes rewards and opportunities but also comes dangers.

If you want success to continue then you need to be aware of these dangers because what made you successful today is not the same as what will make you successful in the future.


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