Growth Spurts and Growing Pains

Growth is rarely linear and predictable in the early growth stages of a business venture and the growth itself can begin to morph or change the company in many ways.  This series addresses a range of commonly experienced business growing pains – what they are, how to spot them, and most importantly, strategies to eradicate them early before they damage the companies viability.  I call these the  “Growing Pain Gotchas” (or GPG’s for short).

All of us probably remember the guy in high school (or maybe we were that guy) who left at the end of 9th grade, small and spindly only to return after the summer having grown what seemed to be a full foot, hardly recognizable from a mere three months ago!  Along with this new found height, however, sometimes came an awkwardness in proportions or social abilities – arms too long for body, awkward social interactions, etc.  Businesses also grow in spurts and with these growth spurts can come growing pains that start as mere minor annoyances.  However, like that kid in high school who took on a new form altogether over the summer, these growing pains left unaddressed can reshape the company.  In some cases, the ways in which the company is reshaped can be catastrophic to its chances for surviving and thriving.

Last year, Forbes Magazine published an article about surprising statistics for small businesses.  They claimed that “7 out of 10” employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more.”  These statistics essentially say that if you are an entrepreneur who wants to build a lasting business (beyond 15 years) your chances are 2.5 in 10.  Along with cash management and strategic and sufficient capitalization of the business, the secret sauce is often in how a team navigates the frenzy and chaos of early stage growth, being on the alert for any “Growing Pain Gotchas.”

This series shares stories of how these GPG’s have manifested themselves in real company situations.  Each article highlights the early warning signs of these GPG’s and also ways to treat and eradicate them when they take hold of your business.

The Growing Pain Gotchas

  • Culture Vultures
  • Talent Compromises
  • Gallivanting Goals
  • Impotent Operations
  • Leadership Atrophy

More on each of these in the days to come, but there are probably others that you can think of as well.  Hope you will comment and share and hope you enjoy the series!

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