I am often asked about the risks that are present with growth and there are many of them. Some of the ones that we see very typical are finding talented employees. Then how do you increase your global presence? You also have management of cash flow or mismanagement of cash flow that can turn into very high interest debts very, very quickly. Or maybe lack of sophistication around best practices. That is all one part. But sometimes the parts that are ignored are poor leadership leading to unhealthy cultures, things that can get away in a smaller organization they are not really working very well when it gets to a larger organization. You not only have a hard time finding people but you lose the motivation and people who should be delivering for you can become difficult, maybe even toxic employees. The customer service is always at risk. If the culture is such and the leadership is such that the employees aren’t happy you are going to have more and more problems with customer interaction. Then you have more and more work monitoring and responding to social media. For example, dealing with bad customer views on Yelp or Facebook and things like that. So there are a number of different dangers present in growth.
The number one issue that goes through all of these is if you are not prepared for these issues. That also makes sort of this silver bullet of mitigating the risks of growth is by going through these in advance. Making sure that the capacity of your leadership team and your own leadership is really advanced so that you are able to manage at that different level and you are able to lead and motivate your people at that different level. It is also growing the capacity of your people and sometimes when growth is on the table business leaders get too focused on the cost of certain opportunities and they have opportunity cost and sometimes the place where they are least likely to focus is on investing into their people and investing into themselves. They are also maybe not investing into the technology that is supporting the growth. It is important to just get it in the budget, be realistic about it, and then these dangers of growth are manageable and you can navigate them. The best part is you get to grow.
So to wrap it up there are two main dangers in growth and that is one is not taking the risks of growth seriously enough and sort of shooting from the hip and ending up down the path plowing through all of these different problems and risking your brand, risking customer engagement, losing your customer base and finding an inability to grow. That is if you don’t take it too seriously.
On the other side of that same coin is taking the risks of growth too seriously to the point of being paralyzed. Holding on so tightly and so fearful of growth that competitors fly past you and eat up what market share you do have while you hold on to a diminishing customer base.
There is however a golden middle between these and it can be navigated very, very well. We have excellent examples of it. It takes the preparation, it takes the agility, and it takes the fluidity in order to be able to respond to things as they are happening but have a guide. Have these things thought through in advance. Have swift resolution teams. Do all of these things and then your growth can be truly extraordinary and you can then have the exit or the future that you want.