Growing a Business – Do You Have What It Takes?
At first glance, the only apparent difference between a small company and a big company is the amount of revenue and market share.
If only it were that simple.
When companies grow, they must change beyond simply getting bigger.
Business Growth is an Evolutionary Process
The average $10 million business is far different from the average $100 million business, which is different still from the average $1 billion business.
As a business grows and becomes more complex, it will constantly face new challenges. These new demands require the company to develop new skills, capabilities, and ways of operating, which are often quite different from those that made the business successful in the first place.
The complexities of running a bigger and bigger business make the existing ways of managing and operating less and less effective, and many times, even become an obstacle to further growth. In other words, as companies grow, they come to certain points where the things that used to work, the things that created success, don’t work anymore. These inflection points are critical times in a company’s growth.
The problem with these inflection points is that the business must evolve in order to reach the next level and continue moving forward. As a result, companies must go through several major transitions on the way to becoming a big company. During these transitions, the business must make fundamental changes to reach the next level.
A simple analogy is the developmental process a baby undergoes to become a child, then a teenager, and finally an adult. The needs of children are much different than the needs of a teenager, which are different from the needs of an adult.
Unfortunately, businesses and their leaders don’t have the necessary transitions programmed in their DNA. While you can reasonably assume that an infant will develop into an adult, you can’t reasonably assume that a business will reach its full potential. The hard truth is that most companies don’t grow beyond a certain size because they reach an inflection point and simply don’t make the transitions necessary to get to the next one.
Growth Demands Change
Business growth is simply not possible without change. Ignoring this most basic law of growth is like ignoring gravity.
Growth changes what the leader and management team must do; growth changes what many employees do; growth changes how the company must operate; growth requires different systems and processes; growth necessitates different people, skills, and capabilities; growth changes the market and the business model; and growth changes the culture and the dynamics of how people communicate and interact within a business.
In other words, growth changes everything.
Growth is not a one-time event; it is a continuous, ongoing process. As your company gets bigger, it must do things differently to continue being successful. If it doesn’t, the business will begin to stumble and eventually fall.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Virtually every facet of your company will change several times as it grows, and these changes can be quite dramatic. The key difference between successful and unsuccessful companies is the ability of the leader, company, and management team to adapt to the inevitable changes that come along with growth.
How well you adapt to the changing needs of your company as it grows will determine your long-term success. If you do so successfully, your company will continue to grow and flourish. However, if you do not adapt successfully, your company will experience many difficulties and perhaps failure – regardless of how strong it appears at this moment.
As your company gets bigger, are you prepared to do things differently to continue being successful?