If one thing has held steady over the years, it’s the fact that things rarely hold steady. Change is inevitable in business, but the ability to manage a fast-growing organization matters more now than ever. As the world continues to navigate life in a pandemic, many companies are growing rapidly and may not be fully prepared for that expansion.
If you feel like you’re playing catch-up with your company’s books, let’s talk. The Fisher Bookkeeping team has years of experience and expertise working with funded startups and other fast-growing businesses. Grab a spot on our calendar for your free consultation.
COVID-19 forced so many business owners to pivot, shift, and adapt. (Anyone else wish they’d never have to hear “pivot” again?)
But even with so much change and turmoil, thousands of companies have experienced massive growth quickly. For many businesses, this expansion happened because of the need to adapt.
While growth is generally welcome for startup entrepreneurs and C-suite executives alike, it always brings challenges. This topic has been coming up in many conversations with clients and peers, so it’s worth examining.
If your organization has switched from survival mode to growth mode, here are seven tips that can help you manage the changes.
Accelerated growth will likely expose your company’s weaknesses. Taking the time to find them first can help you head off problems before they begin. The most crucial piece of this preparation is understanding your financial status.
Consider the following questions:
If you have a fast-growing organization, that likely means higher amounts of money are coming into your accounts. Either you have investor cash coming your way, or your sales are escalating.
What is your plan for that money? If you are a funded startup, then you have an obligation to the investors. If your sales are skyrocketing, then you need to get smarter about allocating those funds. Perhaps you need to pay down debt or build up a cash reserve for emergencies.
Working with a bookkeeper and financial strategist will help you make the best use of your revenue during a time of rapid growth. These experts can also help you find ways to trim your budget and streamline your offerings.
In addition to staying on top of your finances, rapid growth requires you to have crystal clear processes in place for other areas, too. Your business should have an SOP in place for any of the following that apply:
This one is pretty short and sweet. Hire the best people you can find.
The personnel decisions you make will be crucial to your company’s long-term growth and success. Be selective as you hire to, hopefully, get the right fit from the start.
Whether you’re bringing on employees, contractors, or outsourced firms, spend time getting to know them before signing a contract. The phrase “hire slow and fire fast” exists for a reason. Hire slow.
When things are moving and growing quickly, communication problems can emerge. It’s critical that you talk with your team about the company’s plans and goals so that everyone is on the same page.
No, you do not have to share all of your “how.” However, sharing your “why” is essential for all the players to pull in the same direction.
Friendly conversations and formal meetings are all necessary to make sure people feel empowered to accomplish their tasks. Fast-growing organizations must have clear and consistent communication, or things will fall through the cracks.
Your team will achieve more if you share with them the metrics that measure their personal success. If you take the time to get specific about each team member’s job, you will reap great rewards.
Communicating with your clients is also vital during times of change and growth. You may need to introduce new employees or explain updated processes. Be sure to stay in touch with your clients regularly. Technology is a great help in your communication. Email newsletters and blogs all help you keep everyone in the loop.
Through all of this communication, be sure you take the time to listen. Your employees, contractors, co-owners, investors, and clients all may have valuable insight to add. They have a vested interest in your success and should have the opportunity to provide input.
Entrepreneurs tend to be multi-taskers, but a fast-growing business can put that skill to the test. If you keep trying to do it all as your business shifts and grows, you will be on the road to burnout. The best way to avoid that is to learn how to delegate.
You’ve hired an expert team to surround you and put excellent processes in place. Now it’s time to let them do their jobs. Your staff will appreciate your trust in them and see that you recognize their value. This step also gives you the bandwidth to see and fix larger obstacles to your growth.
Delegation is a skill that keeps on giving. It frees up valuable time so that you can concentrate on things only you can do. When you divvy up jobs and allow your team to complete them, you build an empowered, capable, cooperative crew.
Rapid growth in your business can bring a lot of emotions. Even when you’re excited and eager for change, you can feel exhausted and overwhelmed and terrified.
One of the best ways to get through some of the growing pains is to outsource a team of experts. You don’t have to hire a W2 employee for every role as your company stretches and expands.
Depending on your industry, there are many pieces you can outsource:
For most businesses, no matter what stage they are in, outsourced bookkeeping and payroll is the first step. Giving up the burden of handling all the numbers can start you on the path to sustainable growth.
One of the biggest casualties of poorly managed growth is the customer base. No matter your size, you are not a viable business if you don’t have buyers.
If you don’t remain attentive to your existing customers, you will lose them. We’ve probably all experienced this as consumers. You have a favorite little restaurant that creates an incredible dining experience. Then they have a sudden growth spurt, adding locations, and the quality deteriorates.
Do not lose sight of your current clients as you ramp up your business for growth. Have a plan in place to maintain best practices and, again, stay in communication with your customers.
Company growth isn’t always smooth and straightforward, but it is manageable with some care and planning. The first step is to be sure your business financials are in order.
With teams in Portland, OR, and near Lexington, KY, Fisher Bookkeeping can get your books squared away no matter where you are. We offer a wide range of services, including an outsourced CFO. Connect with us today to see how we can help your company grow.
Barb is the CEO of Fisher Bookkeeping, an outsourced bookkeeping consultancy that provides small businesses with a full-service financial department. Her favorite aspect of work is to break down the accounting to meaningful bits, so entrepreneurs can make a powerful difference in their own business. She's also a power lifter (squat: 215, DL: 270).