Growth this, growth that—in a society that always values more, there’s often an emphasis on growing a business as an entrepreneurship. More clients, more employees, and more revenue are all seen as positive indicators, but it’s not always as simple as it seems on the surface.
Needless to say, growth can be an exciting transition that propels your company—and your role as owner—forward. But for sustainable change, it must come at the right time. Otherwise, you risk growing too quickly without having the resources needed to maintain your momentum.
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So, avoid flying too close to the sun and, instead, adopt a steady approach to business growth to ensure that you and your team are set up for success year after year.
Pro: Bigger (and more frequent) paydays
Expanding your team, warehouse space, or client base allows you to serve more people and, in turn, increase your top-line income and push for your next revenue goal, whether it’s $100K or $1M.
“A larger business means you can go after larger events with larger budgets (due to having a larger team, better processes, established partners, and better recognition),” explains Vijay Goel of Bite Catering Couture.
And, of course, with larger events and larger budgets comes more revenue to pay your team and invest back into your business.
But as Sheils hints, more revenue will only lead to increased profit if your business is set up sustainably.
Con: More money, more problems
While growing your business can bring in more revenue, Tonya Hoopes of Hoopes Events cautions that you might not see a boost in your bank account balance.
“Growth does not always equal more profit,” she states. “Growth normally means more revenue, but a cost is associated with revenue. It might be more employees, a larger space, more vehicles, more technology, or many other things.”
So, while you might picture a future of big-ticket earnings, it can take more time than you expect to get there. And for a while, it may even mean taking in less profit than usual, so you could need to adjust your existing business structure.
Pro: A reliable safety net
When the growing pains become a thing of the past, you’ll start to see the fruits of your labor—and, for many, it can mean more stability and freedom to explore new endeavors.
“Expanding into a new market or launching new products can help diversify revenue streams, especially in a seasonal market,” notes Mary Angelini of Key Moment Films.
So if you’ve been frustrated by the feast-or-famine ways of seasonal events, consider leveraging your growth plans to level out the highs and lows and find more consistency throughout the year.
Con: Greater management burden
Delegation is lovely, but new leaders often overlook the time and energy it takes to manage a team. Yes, having a team helps the business take on more clients—but don’t think it means you can start taking time off while your employees fill in the gaps.
“Expansion usually means hiring more people, and with that comes the difficulty of finding the right people for the job and paying them the right amount,” says Monika Kreinberg of Furever Us. “I wish I had known that hiring is one of the most challenging tasks of owning and growing your business, and that finding people that are not a good fit is part of the growing pains that go with it.”
With a team expansion, you may also need to invest more time and money into collaborative systems like a task management platform or communication portal. And as the leader, it’s up to you to ensure everyone has access to the resources they need to succeed in your business.
“A growing business means more people in new (or changing) roles, so management also has to level up,” Goel states. “The faster the growth, the harder the management job is.”
For those new to leadership roles, you may feel uncomfortable hiring, delegating, and managing other people at first. But with time, you’ll settle into your new role with ease.
There are two sides to the coin when it comes to business growth, but don’t let the potential drawbacks detract you from reaching your goals. Rock Paper Coin’s Katie Mast reveals that preparation is the key to sustainable, long-term success.
“Building a long-term plan before officially expanding is the only way you will be able to expand properly,” she affirms. “With any business growth, you have busy months and slow months; you can't simply rely on the current growth needs to keep your income steady. Having the income available to hire before hiring is a great first step. In addition, having at least four to six months of rent available before renting a space ensures your space will be paid for even when income slows down.”
As you navigate the peaks and valleys of growth, don’t forget to embrace the sparks of inspiration and exciting opportunities that come with an open-minded approach to business. That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship!
“When you see your business start to grow, you may have new ideas, and it may lead you down a path you never thought of before,” says Diane Kolanović-Šolaja of Dee Kay Events. “So, don't be scared to say yes. Ride the creativity wave and see where you end up.”
So, while growth plans can be lucrative for your business, remain grounded and level-headed as you work through each stage. There’s no need to rush, so focus on a slow and steady approach to sustainable success.