So many small businesses get off to a promising start only to hit a wall. Some are able to get back on track, while others stagnate or fail. Growing pains ranked just behind talent concerns and sales worries in a recent Oracle/Inc. survey of more than 300 small and midsize business (SMB) leaders, What's Keeping America's SMB Leaders up at Night.
Challenges faced by growing SMBs are considerably different than those faced by start-ups.
Here are a few ideas for getting over the hump:
1. Appraise Your Current Team and Rebuild It for the Future
This is a tough one.
Loyalty tells you to stick with the people who were at your side when your business first got off the ground. But the type of person who works well in a start-up?a jack of all trades?may not be the type of employee who can transition and thrive as the company grows.
Remember, this also applies to you.
The bravado, the vision, the passion, and the drive that was so valuable in getting your business going may not be enough to guide your business to the next level.
A single skill or idea may have launched your business, but there's a massive difference between having a particular skill and being skilled at business.
Many founders and CEOs hate the idea of relinquishing the leadership reins, but it can be the smartest way to go. All too often, they learn it the hard way when a funder puts one condition on investing?bringing on a new executive team.
2. Be Methodical and Careful in Your Hiring
There's a real Catch-22 when it comes to growth and hiring.
On one hand, you desperately need to grow your staff as quickly as possible to keep up with your growing business and personnel needs.
On the other hand, hiring decisions made during this critical period of growth can determine just how successful your business will be in the future.
So don't rush! Slow down, and make the right choices.
The extra time and effort may cause a delay in filling important vacancies, but that delay is well worth it if the hires have both the skills and the cultural fit to become the backbone of your growing and thriving company.
3. Start Relying on Data, Not Your Gut
Business founders are a rare breed.
They are brave, bold, and impulsive. Often, critical decisions come from the gut. While trusting your gut can give you the courage and impetus to get your business off the ground, your gut just won't cut it as you try to grow.
Business today is driven by data?data which must be collected, organized, and analyzed.
An investment in the tools and solutions that harness the power of such data-driven analytics is an investment in the future.
Data doesn't have an agenda. It doesn't have a hunch.
Data has power.
When data is collected from every corner of your business and filtered through built-in best practices, that data is priceless. The intelligence gleaned from this data allows your business to make intelligent decisions and make them in real time.
Business leaders who remain stubborn about relying on their gut are dinosaurs and likely to share their fate.
4. Invest in the Future, Invest in Technology
In today's digital-driven economy, a business cannot grow, scale, or compete without utilizing the kinds of technologies that fuels innovation.
Are you still figuring out your finances on spreadsheets? Are you failing to outfit your sales teams with the latest mobile technologies? Do your human resources (HR) operations operate without a link to accounting, finance, customer service, and other key business processes? Then, you are doing business blindfolded.
As your business grows and matures, you're walking into a battle. As in any combat, do you want to be armed with your best friends and your gut, or do you want to be armed with the people and the technologies built to compete in today's economy?
The answer to that ought to be simple. Isn't it?
To learn more about how the right cloud technologies, implemented at the right time, can help achieve (and maintain) a high level of growth, download our newest ebook - What Every SMB Tech Leader Should Know About the Cloud and Supergrowth - today.