Whether it's getting people to pay attention to what you're selling, generating enough cash flow to make payroll, or turning revenue into profits, entrepreneurs relentlessly prepare to tackle obstacles. That's why it can come as such a surprise when rapid success turns out to be your biggest challenge of all.

Many new businesses fail when they finally experience a large swell of interest in what they're doing and lack the skills, processes, and capabilities to accommodate it. Building systems to handle massive growth is as vital as coming up with solutions when things go wrong.

The founders of Third Rail Projects provide an excellent model for anyone looking to successfully navigate this dilemma. Artistic Directors Zach Morris, Jennine Willett, and Tom Pearson founded their company to "create site-specific, immersive experiential dance and theater that re-envisions ways in which audiences engage with contemporary performance." Like many avant garde theater companies they started small. But the company has since become an artistic and financial powerhouse, regularly attracting press in outlets like The New York Times and Time Out New York, not to mention large, dedicated audiences.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Zach Morris about how he and his partners managed their often overwhelming transition, as well as his thoughts on business, art, and the intersection of the two.

When did you first realize you and your partners couldn't keep doing things the way you always had?

I think the moment when we knew we needed to change the way we were doing business was the advent of Then She Fell and its incredible success. As soon as we understood that Then She Fell was going to be a long running project, we realized that we needed to grow our infrastructure to be able to sustain it. To give you an idea, when Then She Fell premiered, we were a company of fifteen. In less than a year that number had quadrupled. So what we had to do was move very quickly from being a scrappy DIY dance theater company to an institution. We had to move into a place where we were employing our artists, where we were dealing with questions of compliance, and so on. And the amount of infrastructure that takes is enormous, so we really went through some growing pains. And then going forward, it became: How do you stabilize that to be able to do new projects?

How did you learn the skills you needed to manage a rapidly growing organization?

Tom, Jennine, and I had a little bit of arts administration experience from university. But pretty soon after getting out of school, in addition to creating our own work, Tom and I, in particular, found ourselves actually working as arts administrators with Dance Theater Workshop (which eventually evolved into New York Live Arts). I was learning a lot of stuff about producing and fundraising and management. Tom was likewise learning things about development and management, but was also steeped in the marketing and publicity end of things. All the while, Jennine was running her own business and was learning a whole other skill set. So as we came together and realized we needed to build this business, we were bringing some of the things we had learned, quite literally, on the job and applying those practices and tools. But maybe more importantly, we were really blessed to have a tremendous group of mentors and advisors who helped us shape our thinking. In many cases, we really had no idea what we were doing but we weren't afraid to ask.

Third Rail works in an aspect of what people are calling immersive media, which is having a real moment right now. Why do think this is the case?

I've got a couple of theories. One has to do with the advent of the Web and the way we are engaging with content. Not since the printing press has there been a revolution of this scale. For the first time ever, we are able to navigate content, and more to the point, our content is able to be responsive to us. At the same time, so much of our lives are spent through the lens of a screen. We're more connected now than we ever have been as a society, but as individuals we're less connected than ever. There is a piece of glass between me and whoever I'm communicating with most of the time. So as we're celebrating this technology, we're also dealing with millennia worth of hardwiring that wants us to be in a room engaging with other human beings. So I think that one of the reasons the performing arts in particular are seeing a swell of interest--and immersive or experiential work in particular is seeing a swell of interest--is because it's speaking to a really profound need or yearning that a lot of folks have. And I think that yearning is fused with the way we now experience our content. The way we tell stories now must be different because the way we engage with stories is different.

Learn more about Third Rail Projects by visiting their website.