Okay, forget all this organic growth stuff. Let’s say you hit the big time, and suddenly dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people are flooding towards your business.
Exciting, isn’t it? Sure, exciting as a funeral.
If your business isn’t ready, this could be The End.
It’s easy to want to hit it big. But, the truth is, rapid expansion is the most dangerous time for any business.
Am I against you succeeding? No way. I want you to flourish and thrive and enjoy your business. But, I don’t want you to get flooded out.
Why rapid growth is so dangerous.
When you grow, everything grows. I mean EVERYTHING. Your income grows, and so do the number of requests for help. Your database grows, and so do the number of number of complaints and negative feedback. The number of orders grow, and the number of mistakes you make grows, too.
Dealing with 1000 orders is very different than dealing with 10. Dealing with 20 clients is very different than dealing with 5.
A true story.
Once upon a time there was someone who was excellent at what she did. Excellent. And, naturally, the word spread.
What’s more, she accelerated her growth through really smart marketing. As has happened to many people, she even received so much traffic to her website that her servers were overwhelmed at one point.
Very cool, eh?
Then things started to go south.
Instead of answering emails cheerfully within a day, it was taking her two or three weeks to get back to people, simply because of the volume. She had more clients than she could handle, and they started to complain about her mistakes to each other, to people they knew, to everyone but her.
Plus, there were hundreds of requests for services, requests she couldn’t fill, because it was just her.
And people started to drift away…
Do you see where this is going?
It IS possible to turn a situation like this around. But, it will definitely take some real effort, and a new track record, to get the good opinion of the marketplace back again.
What’s going on here spiritually? Well, it’s kind of like the old “hand in the cookie jar” story. You put your hand in the cookie jar, grab a bunch of cookies, but then your fist with all the cookies is too big for the neck of the jar. So, you have to let go of all the cookies save one, in order to get your hand out.
It’s about trusting that you’ll have what you need. When something seems too big to be true, it probably is. My experience is that the next right step always is something that feels real and grounded to me.
So are big jumps never permissible? When is it okay to blow the lid off and really ‘go for it’? Is there a way to grow rapidly, without risking your business?
Sure there is. Let’s take a look.
Keys to Safe and Rapid Growth
– Systems, systems, systems.
Because you care about your business so much, plus you’re probably really creative, you’ve most likely resisted implementing systems in your business, wanting to make sure that loving care is put into every detail.
For growth, you’ll want to start to identify where things are repetitive, and where the loving care can be put into a system that handles repetitive tasks. No, don’t put any less love and care into it. Just start to think about what details aren’t hurt when they are systematized.
The best time to do this is before you really need to. It helps to make sure that you have the time to put love into creating a system, instead of doing it in a panic with 100 upset customers breathing down your back.
– Practice being the boss.
You can’t do everything. A one-person successful business is a myth: every successful business requires the efforts of more than one person. And so you need to learn how to delegate, outsource, and hire the people to help you, without breaking the bank.
This takes practice. Start practicing in small ways, hiring a virtual assistant for a few hours a month, just to get used to the idea. As you gain more experience, you’ll be able to outsource more and more. And, eventually you’ll be comfortable hiring and allowing others to help you when you start to grow.
– You need a product.
When you have thousands of people wanting help from you, the only sensible thing you can provide is a product. If you’re a service business, or even if you are creating things, but doing it in an old-fashioned, loving hand-crafted way, you’ll want to start to think “scalable.”
What kind of a product can you experiment with creating? Your first one probably won’t be a home run, so if you start creating your first information products now, you’ll get the hang of what your clients really want and need.
You may never want to grow to be really big. But, even if you want to be moderately comfortable, these three steps: systems, hiring help, and having products, are the foundational pieces you need in order to handle rapid growth.
Because it can happen. And instead of a prelude to your business’ funeral, it can be the joyous celebration it should be.