Even if you're prepared for incredible and sudden growth in your business, the adjustment is a rough one. The only way to come out on the other side as a strong, stable business is to focus on your mission, your people and your customers.
1. Stay true to your mission.
Never let a boom in business change why you started the business. Keep yourself and your team focused on your mission every single day, with every new customer. Write it on the walls, hold meetings to discuss your purpose and make your mission known to all. Startups can only survive immense changes and growth if they know exactly who they are, what they're trying to accomplish and stick to that plan. Your business exists to solve a problem; keep solving it.
"We are in the business of making people smile and bringing out happy emotions. When you create a product that brings emotion and joy to your customers that is different from the norm, you have a chance to be quite successful," said Riad Bekhit, Owner of Potato Parcel. "Our customers always remember the emotions they felt when opening one of our packages, and it is something that they don't forget. Try to bring this experience to your customers!"
2. Stay true to your customer.
As you grow or plan for growth, you'll be tempted to chase new markets or change your methods to fit certain opportunities. Make sure you're not losing current customers in the process. If you're making core changes, be sure it's an improvement on the customer experience.
"Being client centric has proven beneficial on many levels for us over the years. Aside from the obvious of doing what you said you would do for your clients, on a deeper level embracing the vision of the client along side of your vision does far more than reduce client churn, it builds bridges to lasting relationships," said Brian Magnosi, Founder of Magnosi Web Marketing, a digital marketing agency in Syracuse, NY.
Find a way to handle customer service quickly and work with operations to implement these changes from what you're learning. Never forget the clients and customers that got you where you are. Remember what services or products launched this growth and don't stray from your core purpose.
In the same vein, make customer service a priority. Get customer feedback and listen to it. Even if you solve their problem, they won't be referring you company to anyone else if the experience wasn't a pleasant one.
3. Focus on three- and 12-month goals.
Of course you need to plan for the long-term, but when you're facing rapid growth, think about how you'll handle changes now. Work on implementing three and six-month plans. Communicate those plans, as well as your 12-month goals, to your entire staff so the core mission is clear and the steps needed to get there are attainable. Planning for shorter goals will get you there faster and allow you to pivot if you find what is best.
"We embrace the notion that you can never be too focused," explains Al Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of Avant. "We like to think of it as an 80-20 rule: 80 percent of our time on the core mission but somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of our time thinking about what is going to come next."
4. Make your employees a priority.
There is no one more important when growing your business than your employees. There will be lots of work to do and you should only hire people who understand that. However, you can't take it for granted. Show your appreciation for them. Give them the resources they need to succeed and help them solve the problems in their way. If you work hard for them, they'll work hard for you.
When you onboard new employees, get to know them. Find their strengths and sharpen their skills. Welcome them to the team and integrate them into your mission. Give your growing team room to get to know each other, help each other and then come to you when roadblocks get in their way. Don't micromanage and always give credit where it's due.