By Simonetta Lein, CEO of Ausonia Partners LLC
Anyone whose company has experienced a pivotal period of hypergrowth would agree that it is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, rapid expansion and a dizzying surge in turnover for your company comes with an adrenaline rush and a reward for all those long weekends and late nights of tireless work.
But, the flip side of that particular coin is that increased growth comes with increased demand. If you’re not careful, both you and your team could soon become overwhelmed and burned out as resources and time are stretched to the limit, leaving you to struggle in the pressure cooker of a hypergrowth company.
When I co-founded digital consulting agency Ausonia Partners LLC alongside my partner Raphael Amabile in 2018, it became one of Inc.’s 5000 fastest-growing companies in the space of a year. Yet neither myself nor Raphael allowed ourselves the indulgence of resting on our laurels.
Before that watershed moment, I had been working for years toward the day when my long-term dream of starting my own business would become a reality. Now that it had, I reminded myself that in the first blossom of success lies the seeds of failure. In other words, if the first surge of hypergrowth isn’t managed correctly, it can swamp both your company and your ambition.
As a firm believer that knowledge is useless unless it’s shared, I’d like to share some of my top tips on managing hypergrowth.
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
You’d be surprised by the number of businesses that don’t have the right infrastructure in place to deal with hypergrowth. If you don’t have a plan in place to deal with rapid expansion and the increased demand it entails, it can leave you vulnerable -- and at risk of floundering at the exact moment, you need to bring your A game.
A detailed strategy to deal with any possible scenarios and curveballs that might come your way makes sound sense. Additionally, a business plan will help you understand your marketplace and the goals and objectives for your company.
Visualize specific scenarios you want to happen, as well as the resources you’ll need to cope with them, and you can’t go wrong.
Surround yourself with the right people.
If you want your brand to grow and flourish, you cannot possibly do everything on your own. With this in mind, it’s essential to surround yourself with the right people for the job. Staff members should be talented and flexible and have a positive can-do attitude at all times.
Negativity is a weakness in any organization, and what’s worse, it’s a state of mind that can often turn viral. Keep your employees engaged and focused while ensuring they feel like an integral part of what you’re all trying to achieve together.
To manage hypergrowth effectively, learn how to delegate and trust other people, but never fall into the trap of burdening them with more work and responsibility than they can manage. Likewise, do not micromanage them. If you’ve hired someone for a specific role, show them that you have faith in their ability to deliver. Never be afraid to ask someone on your team for their advice.
Remember, there is no ‘I’ in team.
I’m still very hands-on when it comes to my company. I don’t have regular work hours or vacations, and many of my weekends are spent in the office. I’m always thinking about ways to improve and strengthen the brand.
Even when I’m not at work, I’m at work. Yet the danger in being so driven is you can be caught up in thinking you are working harder than anyone else to make your company a success. Nine times out of ten, this is simply not true, and it is very counterproductive.
A great leader should be an embodiment of their company’s ethos and not someone who simply manages it. They should also acknowledge that any company is all about teamwork. I believe in my employees, and I’m keen to help them succeed.
Good communication and interpersonal skills are extremely important, particularly in my line of work, as I work with people from a lot of different countries and cultures. Without a good team of hard-working and reliable employees to watch your back and hold the ship’s wheel when the going gets tough and the pressure becomes almost unbearable, you’ll find it difficult to survive a period of prolonged hypergrowth.
Make no bones about it, hypergrowth is exhilarating, but it can also be a tricky minefield to navigate. But if you work hard, do your homework, stay true to your vision, adopt a well-thought-out strategy, surround yourself with the right people, and live and breathe the brand you are striving to promote, then you can’t go far wrong.
Simonetta Lein is CEO of Ausonia Partners LLC, a social media entrepreneur, 100 top fashion influencer, brand ambassador and author.