The list of challenges faced when trying to grow your business is certainly a long one. Some of them occur later on in the process than a lot of people realize. Even after brainstorming growth ideas, monitoring the marketplace for opportunities and putting together a plan, a lot lies ahead. There are unique challenges that arise during the process of implementing change, such as the likelihood of being overwhelmed or the difficulty in giving up responsibility and trusting your employees.
Even once you feel like you’re well into the growth process and more or less settled into the changes that you are making, there are a number of challenges to keep in mind in order to continue growing your business. Let’s review what I consider to be three of the top challenges for you to keep in mind.
Get Used to Constant Change and Upgrading
Once you start implementing new plans to grow your company, you have to realize that it’s going to be a never-ending process in which change is the new constant. Each time you expand your company, you’re likely going to need to add new employees, processes and infrastructure to keep your business going strong. The offices, technology, supplies, employees, marketing and services that support a $2,000,000 a year company will not support a $5,000,000 a year company.
Try not to be overwhelmed by the constant adjustments and expansions, as they will keep coming. Instead, view them as new challenges for you to tackle head on and apply your experiences in prior growth cycles to the new situations that you face.
Maintaining Cash Flow
With all of those new employees and technologies and infrastructure items can come a great deal of expense. Cash flow is one of the most important things to manage as you keep expanding. You don’t want to “all of a sudden” end up strapped for cash and unable to fund your normal operating expenses. Don’t let your ambition get too far out in front of your cash flow or you could be running your business into the ground rather than creating exciting new opportunities.
Each time that you grow your business, you will likely be investing in a lot of expansions well before the receipt of cash from your new customers. That means that you have to be able to float that cash for a while, so you need to be cautious while you grow. Keep a close eye on your cash on hand, and know what assets you have that are liquid in the event of an emergency. Manage your business checkbook carefully.
If you have delegated some of the responsibility to others, make sure that they are keeping in close contact with the accounting department and operating within a set budget for growth. If they go over their budget, they could very well be putting your entire company in a poor position. Therefore, it is critical that you trust them with that level of responsibility.
Don’t Get Involved in Every “Crisis”
When you are expanding your business, it is easy to view a lot of events as mini-crises that require your immediate attention. You will see very quickly that crisis management, much like change, can be a never-ending cycle. If you’re constantly running around putting out fires, you can’t be focusing as much of your attention on the big picture issues that really require your expertise.
Keep in mind that a lot of so-called “emergencies,” will actually take care of themselves. In addition, when they don’t, you need to be able to trust the employees that you’ve hired to make decisions that fall under their responsibility. Try to train your team to keep as much off your desk as possible, unless it’s absolutely critical or they are really confused about how to proceed.
While it’s all well and good to get involved on the critical issues, you also can’t get too caught up in the day-to-day emergencies. If you’re not shaping the future plans and direction of the company, who is?
Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated. Keep it simple!
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Manny Skevofilax is a consultant and speaker that assists his clients with successfully navigating the challenges of growing their businesses profitably. Since 2003, Manny helps businesses to enhance their financial results by using his experience in strategic planning, financial statement analysis, operations, and team-building. His consulting firm, PORTAL CFO Consulting, Inc., has attracted clients from diverse industries in the United States and abroad.
Manny can be reached at 410-808-3441 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.