Growing pains can happen in a small business because it takes time for a new company to find its way as it navigates through choppy waters. Some growing pains are more common than others which we often discuss during our free webinar training, so it’s important to know what can derail a company's progress. Companies are the master of their destiny, but it’s still common to get stuck in the weeds. While having their eyes on the prize problems are still bound to arise. To prevent issues from threatening a profitable business in the making, take a moment to consider how these 5 ways can hurt a newly growing brand.
Lack of direction
The Balance Small Business discusses how a business can often experience a lack of direction, especially when they’re first starting. Recognizing that and figuring out a way to focus on building a business is a growing pain that must be overcome.
This is closely related to the issue of employees constantly putting out fires, and the solution, again, is strategic planning that involves everyone.
Whether it is because immediate obstacles occupy too much time for employees or for other reasons, staff members sometimes can start to believe they are spinning their wheels and not really accomplishing anything. Not only does this lead to morale problems, but employees may lose interest and seek employment someplace where they feel a greater sense of purpose.
To avoid those issues and get everyone in the loop with the company's objectives and direction, a company-wide strategic plan should be broken down into subsections that address short-term and long-term goals department by department. This means one of the goals of strategic planning should be to make sure every employee understands the company's long-term and short-term goals, how that employee's department contributes to that, and how that employee contributes to his department's role.
To stay focused Entrepreneur recommends coming up with a vision that aligns with your company. Figure out how to keep on track, stick to your vision, and everything should come together.
Along with that need to become a leader comes the demand for a focused vision. “This is a meaningful vision that you write down and which represents the highest agreement among all the people involved in the new venture,” writes Ken Blanchard, entrepreneur and best-selling author. “It’s where you and the founders of the organization declare who you are, what you’re up to and why it matters.”
While it sounds neat and easy on paper, creating a focused vision is far from easy. If multiple founders are involved, it’s tremendously difficult to get everyone on the same page.
It’s normal to not always effectively communicate, but Infusion Soft says you can work on that. As your company grows, it’ll be harder to communicate, which is why it’s essential to make sure that takes place.
As your team grows, communication becomes harder but also becomes more important.
It becomes harder because it’s easy to forget to update everyone or assume that not everyone needs to be kept in the loop, but remember, knowledge is power. You want your team to have the most knowledge possible and make sure all teams are on the same page working towards the same goal.
You need a simple way to keep everyone in the loop and ensure that everyone has access to all of the information they need.
There also needs to be a way to keep everything organized. We’ve all dealt with the struggles that come from having the notes in one place, and the document somewhere else, in another file format, or generally impossible to find, etc.
These struggles need to be fixed as soon as possible, you and your team have other things to worry about than where the latest version of a document is.
Idea to fix this: Slack is by far the best tool to use for this situation. In fact, Slack stands for Searchable Log of All Communication & Knowledge. This is literally what you want for a situation like this. An easily accessible, searchable log for all of your team’s communication. There’s a reason why Slack’s growth has been astronomical. It’s because as soon as people use it, they realize it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for for years.
Having a lack of time
Are you finding that you’re struggling with having a lack of time? Sometimes running an online business gets extremely busy, which is why The Balance Small Business recommends figuring out solutions so you can be efficient and hire extra help if needed.
When employees start to feel like there is never enough time to accomplish necessary tasks, stress can mount and morale can start to sag. Employees might even begin to experience physical illnesses brought on by excessive stress, leading to increased absenteeism.
This is usually a good sign that it is time to review efficiency and perhaps hire additional help. Seek feedback from your employees about where they are feeling the most overwhelmed and why. Are they spending time on unnecessary or redundant tasks? Or is there just too much for everyone to do? By carefully evaluating the business' needs you can determine the most efficient means of increasing efficiency or the size of your staff. Your needs might range from one or two additional part-time employees to several additional full-time employees.
Or, maybe all you need to do is streamline some of your staff's responsibilities.
Learning to say no
At times you may need to say no, and that’s okay. Entrepreneur reminds small business owners that you shouldn’t be afraid to say no. If you don’t, you’ll get too caught up in trying to make people happy and in the long run that can affect your business.
Saying no isn’t natural for most people. Humans are innately born with a desire to satisfy others. We prefer to say yes. However, successful entrepreneurs have to love the word “no.” In fact, you’ll need to say no more than you say yes.
You may never get to a point where you’re comfortable saying no, but you have to do it anyways. Otherwise, you’ll end up compromising your business at the expense of making people happy. It’s an uncomfortable growing pain but one that must be dealt with, nonetheless.
Thinking you can do it all
It’s impossible to do it all, which is why Freshbooks suggests being realistic and reminding yourself that it’s impossible to work on everything. It’s better to do what you can do without losing sight of what’s essential.
If you’re having trouble properly tracking how long one task has taken you because you’re working on multiple things at once, then you’re probably working in “I can do it all” mode. The problem: If you’re pulled into administrative-oriented tasks, you’re pulled away from the big picture goal of business growth.
Further, numerous studies suggest that, in fact, multitasking decreases productivity. Why? Multitasking is less efficient because it takes extra time to shift mental gears every time a person switches between tasks.
This manifests in everyday workplace activities, such as when someone switches from filling out financial spreadsheets to writing emails. Even switches lasting only one-tenth of a second can reduce daily productivity by 40%.
Forbes includes a few quotes below of some additional damaging growing pains that can impact business growth. Keep these in mind and the 5 growing pains we mentioned below as you continue to propel your business going forward.
Felix Lluberes, President and Co-Founder of Position Logic
“The biggest challenge is keeping your family happy and constantly deciding when to miss important family events because work demands it. Working hard is not a sacrifice as long as you achieve your ultimate objective.”
Vinny Antonio, President of Victory Marketing Agency
“Cash flow management for a rapidly growing, bootstrapped company can be harder than the world’s most difficult Sudoku puzzle. It’s almost a full-time job staying on top of who owes you what and who you owe, and then prioritizing those payments. All the while, you’re pushing for more growth, but with that comes additional expenses — most notably, your executive team. Good talent doesn’t come cheap, and you often have to find creative ways to lure the right personnel to your team.”
Josh Phillips, President at Pyxl
“Balancing the needs of the business — growth, cash flow, new opportunities — with employees’ needs is the biggest challenge we face. Working with younger employees has presented a whole new set of challenges and opportunities that go back to having a culture of growth that everyone buys into. We are focused on bridging those areas and creating a sustainable business model.”
During our free webinar training, we reveal other ways you can grow your business and make a profit. We hope you join us and learn how else you can improve your business and overcome growing pains.