Running a growing company is a unique challenge. It’s completely different than running a small business and it’s completely different than running a large company. A fast growing company is like a bullet train: it’s going foward fast, but one small error can cause big problems.
Here are some of the most common and most dangerous mistakes growing businesses make. Avoid them to make sure your company grows quickly and smoothly.
Mistake: Not Willing to Pivot
Most businesses don’t succeed using their initial business plan. In fact, successful companies often end up doing something completely different than their original business plan.
Match.com was an offshoot of newspaper personals ads. They just wanted to put personals online, instead of build a whole web community. Apple was failing, until Steve Jobs came back to the company and invented the iPod. AirB’n’B was originally designed to help people find air mattresses for conferences.
Listen to feedback from your audience and be willing to pivot. Be willing to change the very core of what you do. You often have to, to succeed.
Mistake: Not Managing Cashflow
Profit is one thing. Cashflow is something completely different. It’s entirely possible to run a profitable company, yet fail because you run out of cash.
Have accurate profit and loss statements. Know how much cash you have in the bank at all times. Know how much you need to make each month to break even. If possible, have backup sources of cash available – even if it’s a MasterCard or a family member.
Cashflow problems is one of the biggest reasons Enron was destroyed. They booked immense profits by counting future contracts as profits today. Yet they made very little actual cash. Eventually, that (among other things) destroyed the company.
Mistake: Not Developing Systems
Early on in the business, it’s natural to do everything yourself. You have to. It’s the only way things will get done.
Yet as the business grows, you’ll need to start to rely more on more on other people. More importantly, you’ll need to rely on systems. That means documenting how things should be done, step by step. It means having a training manual. It means laying out expectations and deliverables.
It can seem like a hassle at first. Yet if you don’t do this early on, it most definitely will hinder your growth.
Mistake: Running Yourself into the Ground
Finally, don’t neglect self-care. Entrepreneurs often burn themselves out, to the point where it detracts from their ability to perform. It’s okay to work hard; indeed you have to. Yet working back to back 80+ hour weeks with no breaks isn’t good for anyone, least of all you.
Work out, eat well and take the time to rest. Recharge your batteries, so you can give your business your all.