Go Slow to Grow Fast
Ready to scale your company?Of course leaders should take advantage of opportunity and momentum by ramping up production and sales when customers are eager to buy. But a recent MIT study found that 25% of high growth companies fail within six years.
Go slow to grow fast and don’t let your enthusiasm for early success cloud your vision and take your good sense on a risky or shortsighted detour. Many leaders have fallen short because they did not do the careful analysis of which strategic growth move to make when. How many businesses like Webvan, eToys and Zynga have you seen bite the dust or struggle because they tried to grow too fast?
Three High Growth Pitfalls to Avoid
Here are three high growth pitfalls you will want to avoid as you strategically grow your business:
1. Hiring Too Many Employees Too Fast
We know. You don’t want to get caught short-handed and the right talent can take a while to find. But you also don’t want to grow your workforce before you have the bandwidth to develop, engage and retain And most of all you don’t want to hire under the kind of pressure that promotes bringing sub-standard employees aboard.
Hire the right people when you need them and when you can accommodate them properly – not before.
2. Misunderstanding Who Your Customers Are
Too many high growth companies don’t really know who their ideal target customers are or how to differentiate themselves from the competition over the long haul. The early adopters may have brought you early success, but they may not be the long-term loyal customers you can count on to create profitable growth at the right trajectory.
Make sure you can identify the ideal target clients where you are most likely to win the majority of the time and what sets you apart from the competition in their eyes. Then calculate the total available market for your specific offerings to see if your growth projections make sense. Then ruthlessly focus on marketing and selling to those target customers.
3. Assuming What Worked at First Will Continue to Work
This third pitfall may be the trickiest. Too many leaders flush with success neglect the hard work of continually assessing the health of the business and making the changes needed to keep thriving. A business with a staff of 500 will need to adopt new strategies, structures, systems and technologies if it wants to grow to several thousand employees.
Prepare for growth by looking ahead and adjusting your strategy and talent management plans as needed.
The Bottom Line
Enjoy and celebrate the opportunity for high growth but don’t fall into the traps that lie in wait for leaders who grow their companies too quickly. Know your customers and what sets you apart, pace and monitor your hiring to only select top talent, and be flexible as you adjust your business strategy.
To learn more about how to go slow to grow fast, download 4 Steps to Ideal Target Client Definition to Accelerate Growth
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