Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
While it’s every company’s hope to grow, what many companies may not realize is that quick, explosive growth might not actually be the best way to scale. Though some companies may not have a choice if they experience sudden “overnight” success, those actively looking to skyrocket in popularity and sales need to consider a few important points first.
Below, 11 business leaders from Rolling Stone Culture Council list some of the points an entrepreneur should be concerned about if they’re looking to grow their company quickly, and offer their best tips for scaling successfully in the long term.
Of course, explosive growth comes with excitement, but it’s almost always followed by unprecedented expectations. It’s important to be realistic about why your company is growing rapidly so you can shore up a solid foundation on your strengths. After that, the task is to identify areas where you are most reactive to the pace of growth and build sustainable processes to create stability. – Andres Palencia, LATV
Quick, explosive growth can be great if a company is ready for it, but disastrous if the company has no plans to sustain the growth. In most cases, unless a company is well-established, “hockey stick” growth rates can kill a company via supply chain, not enough inventory and an over-extended bandwidth in general. Put in the work, build the foundation and scale growth with sustainability in mind. – Jarod Duggins, TRICHOMES.com
Quick and explosive growth may be a good problem to have, but it’s a serious problem nonetheless. Normally, your infrastructure is not equipped to handle this. In order to grow sustainably, be sure to hire sufficient help in advance of the expansion to support the growth properly. If you do not have the help, you will hurt your track record. Growing too quickly can hurt your performance. – Cynthia Salarizadeh, House of Saka, Inc.
Transparency and strong communication are the two most valuable assets that a company needs to keep it at the forefront of growth. Team members need to know what is happening without getting into the fine details that only key executives should have knowledge of. When team members understand the vision of growth, team cohesion can take root and the growth will be sustainable. – Marla Matime, Voice Media Ventures
When explosive growth occurs, it is often better to limit output than to provide a product or service of a lower caliber in the haste for quick profits. The good news is that your company already has demand. Ensure you’re able to continue delivering quality products or services during your period of growth by upholding those practices and quality checks that brought the initial success. – Evan Nison, NisonCo
Cash flow concerns are usually top of mind for entrepreneurs whose businesses have suddenly skyrocketed in popularity. With increased demand comes an increase in back orders for supplies and inventory, which comes at a high cost. So, solidify your credit lines with lenders. Make sure you have capital available when you need it, even during (very) high peaks in demand. – Tyler Gallagher, Team 33
The Right Foundation
Explosive growth can be a Catch-22. While growth is always the goal, it’s important to make sure your company has the right foundation to handle scaling. You don’t want to grow but have everything fall apart at the same time. In order to grow the right way, you need to be prepared. We always have to ask ourselves, “Can our system handle X many more clients?” – Vanessa Gabriel, Drop Delivery
In any growth period, businesses must focus on their most important asset — their team members. Create a culture and onboarding process that gives each and every team member a consistent experience. When you unite your team and make them feel valued, you will find success in your scaling. – Jessica Billingsley, Akerna
Growth is not something you necessarily want to curtail, but at what expense and why is a very salient concern. If you are betting on a limited business segment or market of clients, you may be better off expanding your product or service line to break into new diverse markets. As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” – Michael Polk, Billboardology.com
In my experience, growing too quickly doesn’t allow your team the time needed to learn the business and get good at their roles. If team members feel like they’re always “catching up” or making mistakes (inevitable in high-growth mode), you’ll risk them burning out or leaving. It’s much better to have slower sustainable growth for the overall health of an organization. – Danielle Sabrina, Tribe Builder Media
The Eventual Slow Down
Burning bright can be great, but be aware of the potential downfalls. At some point, the growth will slow. Resting on the laurels of your big hit can often lead to a weak pipeline of new products and services and a workforce that becomes disillusioned and burned out. Keep your eyes on the broader innovation strategy and build for long-term success. – Michael Klein, Miraculo Inc.