Growing businesses inevitably hit a point known as a growth ceiling. In other words, they are maxed out. Processes that worked before are now too clunky or inadequate, resources are fully tapped and staff are getting worn out. Perhaps customer service is beginning to suffer. The classic reasons for a fear of success have come to fruition.
So now what? The answer is pretty simple really; the business needs a redesign. Of course, implementing change while running on all cylinders is anything but simple. Tackling one issue at a time or getting some professional assistance may make change more manageable.
If your business has hit a growth ceiling, here are some things you can do to get through it:
1. Restructure the team. Chances are, your team has been assembled on an as needed basis. Roles have likely evolved based on individual strengths and abilities to take on more work as the business has grown. To help push through the ceiling, it might be time to open a blank workbook and map out roles that match your company’s needs today and expectations for the future. You may find that you need more leadership help, or maybe even a business partner.
2. Shift to Proactive. When you are struggling to keep up, your business is probably fighting fires rather than planting seeds. To break that cycle, the business leaders must devote most of their own time to running the business and not working on day to day operations. Think of a drone, flying above and getting a wide view of where it is and the ability to look in the distance to where it is going. Business owners can use a similar approach to see improvements that can be implemented now and prepare for what lies ahead.
3. Improve Data. If you aren’t planning for and measuring business performance at a granular level, you may be wasting time and scarce resources on things that aren’t making you enough money. We work with our clients to figure out what drives performance and then we design an accounting systems that specifically captures those drivers. The accounting system becomes a conduit to create performance reports that help owners make better, timely decisions for the business.
4. Focus on Process. A process is just a step by step approach of how your team does something in your company. Building (or improving) processes has a number of benefits. First, when you create processes, it gives you an opportunity to review how best to do work and create efficiencies. Second, processes set expectations for your staff and allow for easier training. Third, consistent processes allow you to better predict your need for resources and reduces the likelihood or errors or a poor customer experience.
Change is uncomfortable and disruptive, so remember that breaking through a growth ceilings may result in short term pain. That’s okay. Don’t get discouraged, you will get through it. For a while anyway, then it’s on to next growth ceiling. If you are looking for some guidance or more information, please contact us.