In the last year alone, my business has tripled its revenue. Since 2015, our sales have grown exponentially. Of course, as we reached each new milestone, we experienced both opportunities and obstacles. For instance, in recent years, dozens of mattress companies have sprouted up, claiming they've developed the perfect product to facilitate better sleep.
Rather than treat each new business as a threat, we've welcomed the competition as it increases overall consumer demand and challenges us to provide better customer education and engineer higher-quality products.
To grow our business sustainably, we increased our headcount, optimized our business systems and upgraded our manufacturing processes. This has helped us ensure we could adequately meet customer demand and maintain our brand and customer service standards.
Below, I list six challenges leaders will face as their business grows, alongside advice that will help you successfully manage these changes.
1. Cash flow management.
Cash flow problems are the second most common reason why small businesses go bust, according to research from CB Insights. Owners have to spend money to make money during a growth period, but this concept can quickly get out of control and leave you in a precarious position.
Manage your cash carefully during these times. Turn to your channels that produce consistent sales and work to maximize their contributions to your bottom line. Negotiate favorable payment terms with partners and vendors too.
2. Responding to competition.
A funny thing happens when your company is successful--others recognize the opportunity and enter the industry. Many small business owners are unprepared for the realities of fierce competition, and they quickly lose their way in an attempt to respond.
Keep your focus on what you do best and continue to communicate your unique value proposition to prospects and customers.
3. Nurturing a great company culture.
Your company culture is affected by everyone involved with your organization. As you grow and more people come into your company's orbit, it becomes more difficult to exert control over your culture and you run the risk of having it derailed.
To do this well, let your company values guide all of your decisions and hire great people who will embrace their role as champions of the organizational culture. With allies on your side at all levels of the business your culture will be allowed to grow and flourish.
4. Learning when to delegate and when to get involved.
There are times when entrepreneurs need to get personally involved in specific decisions, such as big-picture strategic planning and hiring for key positions. Then there are times where it is important to delegate and trust that your managers will make the best decision for their team and the company. Every business owner must learn to get a feel for these situations and step in when needed without burdening their leadership team.
5. Keeping up with market changes.
If your company operates in a sector that experiences frequent upheaval, you have to be prepared for constant change. Internalize the idea that disruption is the new normal and work on training your employees to be agile in the face of uncertainty.
6. Deciding when to abandon a strategy.
Sometimes marketing channels that seemed full of potential don't pan out and new product lines don't catch on as anticipated. Failures are an important part of business growth and owners must train themselves to recognize where they occur, divert resources accordingly and learn from those mistakes.